Why You Need a Useful and Valuable Company Mission Statement

Does your startup or small business have a mission statement? The purpose of a mission statement is to let people know what your company does – your customers and employees.

Studies have shown employees who believe their employer’s work is meaningful are 68% more engaged and productive.

A great mission statement is simple, and it can make you memorable. Below is why you need a useful and valuable company mission statement.

They Set You Apart

The point of a mission statement is to let others know what drives your business; however, you don’t want to be generic. Otherwise, your statement will sound just like everyone else’s. Be specific.

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A great mission statement is unique to your company. What is it your business really does? And what do you hope to do? It blends reality and optimism together.

Related: Need Help with Your Vision Statement? Here Are 4 Things to Consider

They Tell a Story

Your story must be plausible, and revolve around why you exist, how you treat your employees (temps, interns, traditional staff), and why you do what you do.

They can reflect your short term or long term goals – but choose only one. It sounds simple, but communicating it effectively to your audience can be tricky.

Make it succinct and to the point. Keep it between 1-2 sentences. For instance, Nike’s mission is summed up in one sentence: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” – to them everyone is an athlete.

They Provide Value

Part of running a successful startup or small business is being able to give value through your products or services.

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You need to communicate the value you can provide your potential customers with your mission statement. What is your mission, your purpose, the drive behind running your company? Include it in your mission.

Readers should take away why your company and mission are valuable.

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What’s your current mission statement? What’s your biggest challenge in creating one?

 

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4 Bad Employee Traits to Watch Out For

If you’re new to hiring as a startup or small business, you may not be able to vet which candidates will be good employees, and which ones could potentially be problematic.

You’ve most likely worked with a co-worker or two in the past who were prime examples of what not to do.

When you run a startup or small business, every employee matters – your temps and interns, all the way down to your seasonal hires and short term contractors.

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Hire with care, toxic employees can be destructive to the workplace.

A bad employee can be toxic in the workplace, and it can spread and hinder the efforts of your team.

Let’s discuss 4 bad employee traits to watch out for.

  1. “It’s Not My Job” Syndrome

Now and then, you may come across an employee who doesn’t value teamwork. You ask them to perform a simple favor, or complete a small task, and you get the “that’s not my job” response.

This type of employee never volunteers to help out, and may even refuse if you ask them.

When you have a small team, this employee brings everyone else down and starts to give other team members bad ideas.

If you don’t resolve the issue with this employee, you could find yourself managing a team of workers who don’t want to help out.

Related: Your Employee Said, “That’s Not My Job” – Now What?

 The Gossiper

We’ve all known at least one or two people in our life, whether at work or personally, who like to gossip about others. In other words, they love getting the “dirt” on others for entertainment.

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Gossipers are terrible for employee morale, they don’t value their co-workers, and it can lead to issues and drama in the workplace.

They’re more interested in talking about others, rather than focusing on their work. And worse, you can’t trust them. They could very well be stirring up drama based on lies about management, supervisors, and other employees.

According to Bamboo HR, difficult co-workers is one of the top 5 deal breakers for employees.

  1. The Storyteller

Like the gossip-loving employee, storytellers love to tell stories or make up excuses about everything. They will have a new reason every week to why their assignments are always late.

This type of employee is especially problematic because they lie. They’re more concerned with self-preservation and do not care about you, your staff, and your business.

Their lies and damage to your company will only increase. Plus, they never take responsibility for their actions, and it’s never their fault. You can’t trust them.

  1. Chronic Bad Decision Making

Everyone makes mistakes. No one is perfect, and your employees will make mistakes. Sometimes, they’ll make bad decisions. However, that doesn’t automatically mean they are a problem employee.

A problem employee is someone who continually makes bad choices that harm your company and their coworkers.

This can usually be fixed. But if the employee frequently repeats the same mistakes, isn’t open to constructive criticism or feedback, doesn’t recognize their error, or has a natural inclination to repeat the wrong decision again, you’ll have more problems and a harder time getting to the bottom of it.

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Have any additions? What are your tips for spotting problem employees?

 

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When Should Your New Startup Invest in Branding?

Many things go on behind the scenes of building a successful company. Branding is one of them.

While having a profitable idea and solving a problem in your industry are what propels your business from just an idea to a profitable business plan, you need to have a strong brand to back it up.

Branding sets you apart from your competitors, targets the right customers, and makes you memorable. Did you know 65% of your audience are visual learners?

Without a strategic brand identity and plan, you aren’t going to be as successful as you like.

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So, when should your new startup invest in branding?

The answer is simple: right away. Set aside funding and savings to invest in quality branding for your company.

And keep in mind investing in your business doesn’t just mean money; you can also spend time – lots of it – if you don’t have the funds to hire an expert to design your brand.

Related: Company Branding – Things Not to Do on Social Media

With the right branding of your startup under your belt, the more time you can focus on building your audience, landing sales, creating revenue streams, and all the other parts of running a startup.

Don’t overlook branding or set it on the back burner. It is a pinnacle part of your startup.

You don’t need a hefty budget to build a brand. Hire a temp, short term contractor, or intern to help.

You can DIY some of your branding with your team, or hire an expert. But understand it extends beyond your logo.

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A strong brand resonates with your audience, instills trust, positions you as an expert in your industry, and makes you memorable – you want your company to achieve all of these things.

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What do you think? What are your favorite business branding resources?

 

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Lay Offs – Should You Accept a Voluntary Lay Off?

Layoffs are common. Many companies offer voluntary layoffs packages when they begin downsizing their staff. While these packages may seem great, they have pros and cons. Should you accept a voluntary layoff?

The answer to this question is yes and no, depending on your situation. There are some things to consider before you accept.

Why Companies Offer Them

Employers try to make laying off their staff as smooth and conflict-free as possible. One of the best ways to do this is by providing severance, and voluntary layoff packages.

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It also helps them weed out the employees that want to be there, and the employees that don’t. Workers may accept the voluntary packages for a myriad of reasons, including a career change, being unhappy at the workplace, or because they’ve been looking for a new job or have a job lined up.

Related: Lay Offs – What’s Plan B?

Pros

  • Best benefits package
  • Move on to new opportunities
  • You expect it
  • You can plan for it

Cons

  • Involuntary layoffs are not in your control
  • If not enough employees leave voluntarily, companies will further downsize
  • Risk difficulties finding work in the job market

Does It Harm Your Chances on the Job Market?

Seriously consider your reasons for taking the package. You have to explain your reasoning to hiring managers. If you don’t have a good explanation, you risk appearing like a disloyal, and even selfish worker. But if you do have a good reason – a career change, a Plan B, etc. – you will have better luck having hiring managers understand your choices.

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What are your thoughts? Should you accept a voluntary layoff package?

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For Startups – Why You Should Focus on Emotional Branding

If you’ve  been in business long or have researched the ins and outs of running a startup, you’ve heard the term ‘branding.’

And you’ve most likely learned by now that you need a strong brand identity and it is more than your company logo.

There’s no doubt that branding can make or break your startup. A good brand connects with its target audience and is memorable – you can do this by appealing to emotions.

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Below we discuss why you should focus on emotional branding.

It’s Proven for Successful Advertising

Any advertisement will fall flat if it doesn’t focus on appealing to a person’s emotions. A brand without emotion is boring, ineffective, and it doesn’t connect.

Our brains have been trained to ignore unnecessary stimuli and outside forces. The only way in is through emotions.

It triggers a response, and we start to pay attention. When the market is flooded with startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs, you need a way to stand out. Otherwise, your brand will be ignored, or worse, go unnoticed.

Plus, 90% of any decision we make is emotional. If you want your startup to stand out, this is how you do it.

Related: What is an Employer Brand and Why You Need One

It Drives a Strong Emotional Response

The point of emotional branding is to drive an emotional response. We react to emotions – things that make us happy, sad, excited, energetic, angry, and so forth.

If you want people to pay attention to your brand, emotions are essential. Sit down and brainstorm the type of emotions you want to be associated with your name, and how you can achieve that through your branding.

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If you want to uplift your customers’ lives and help them pursue happiness by helping them with life coaching, communicate those emotions with your company brand.

Plus, people will associate your startup and its products or services with emotion. You may believe you have the best wedding planning services online, and say so, but it’s up to your customers to decide that.

You’re More Memorable

Your company is only successful if people remember you. Otherwise, you get lost in the sea of other businesses trying to vet for your potential customers’ attention too.

Make sure the right emotions are being sent to your target market. If they don’t feel happy and uplifted looking at your ads, and your website doesn’t drive that same wanted response, you’re not connecting.

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Everyone knows if people remember your brand, you’re the go-to company for the products and services they need.

Look at Nike. They’ve positioned themselves as a company that inspires and empowers athletes and everyday people to achieve their goals with “Just do it.”

Nike appeals to people through heroism. People struggle and conquer obstacles, triumph, and become the hero. They turn their customers into the heroes of their stories, which has created strong bonds with their clients all over the world.

Stuck? Hire an intern, short term contractor, or temp to help target what you want and how you’ll communicate it.

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How can you emotionally connect with your audience? When you think of your company, what kinds of emotions do you want your customers to feel and why?

 

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Core Values – How to Create the Best Ones to Attract Top Talent

When you think of your business, what core values come to mind? They are the foundation of your company culture.

You need to know how to create the best core values to attract top talent.

As a startup or small business, it’s crucial you hire the right employees – from your interns to your seasonal hires to your short term staff and temps.

They can make or break the success of your company. That’s why finding the best talent with the right skills who fit your company culture is essential.

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If you don’t have a strong culture that resonates with job candidates, you will have a hard time attracting top talent.

Many new companies do not have core values or a strong company culture. They’re overlooked. In fact, 64% of employees feel their workplaces don’t have a strong company culture.

When you have a small team, the founder, CEO, and other management members can brainstorm what the core values of your business are, and how they will be communicated to not only employees but customers and clients.

Related: Need Help with Your Vision Statement? Here Are 4 Things to Consider

Stuck? A few core values can be honesty, hard work, integrity, happiness, and teamwork. These are just a few examples; there are many other values to choose.

The number of values you have is up to you and what is most relevant to your startup or small business; however, you don’t want to choose too many. It can be difficult to focus and implement each one.

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As a rule of thumb, 3-5 is best. List each value in order of importance and brainstorm how you and your staff can best implement them.

Your company core values are guides to where you want to be in the future. Focus on the most important ones to drive your business toward success.

***

What are your business’s core values? How do they influence your company culture?

 

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8 Out of 10 Businesses Fail – How to Beat the Odds

Running a business is tough. It can be stressful, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Every year, some businesses fail, and others succeed.

The average startup has a 25% chance of failure within the first year, and it increases year after year.

While many businesses fail due to financial issues, there is usually more than one problem popping up before it comes to an end.

The truth is: 8 out of 10 of all businesses fail. How do you beat the odds?

Talk to Your Customers

Many startup and small business owners will sit behind their desks all day. That is the worst thing you can do.

While that long to-do list is calling your name, don’t disappear into your office and never reach out to your customers.

The key to success is your customers. You need to create a product or service that fulfills their needs.

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Customers are the lifeblood of your business, engagement is key.

Don’t just create social media updates on Twitter or Facebook. Be available and talk to your target market in ways that are best for them.

If your target market doesn’t use Facebook, don’t waste your time trying to reach them there.

Ask them questions: what they want and need, and what will make their lives easier. If you already have a product or service, ask for feedback and suggestions on how you can improve.

Related: Hiring Challenges You’ll Face (and How to Deal with Them)

Know Your Value

Years ago, there were fewer small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. However, today, there are many. The market is flooded with them.

That’s why it is important you know the value your company brings customers. If you cannot distinguish yourself from the pack, you’ll have a hard time standing out and attracting customers.

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Collaborate with your interns, freelancers, contractors, and consultants to bring value.

Brainstorm with your interns, temps, short term contractors, and other employees on how you can stand out as a company.

You need to offer them something others can’t, and do it much better. Mainly so you can compete with more well-known businesses. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time convincing clients to give you their money.

Have a Business Model

According to Forbes, not having a solid business model and a grasp on revenue streams will ultimately be the end of business.

Most other issues can be solved so you can reach success, but if you don’t lay this foundation correctly and maintain it, you will fail.

To be successful, you need a profitable business with different revenue streams. If your business idea isn’t useful, you’ll lose funds and eventually drown in debt, instead of making a profit.

Business Model
A business model can help create efficiency and grow your business.

Like a business plan, spend your time creating a profitable business idea, build the business model, and create different streams of revenue. The more passive income, the better.

Don’t settle on the first business idea you come up with, think deeply about how it can and will be profitable.

It’s a good idea to create a sales funnel and try to offer products or services in more than one price range so you can appeal to more customers and their budgets.

You can also track your streams of various income, and ensure you’re reaching your target market while making profits.

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What are your tips for overcoming business challenges? In your opinion, what sets a profitable business model apart from a non-profitable business model?

 

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Busted – 6 Myths About Employee Engagement You Need to Stop Believing

Employee engagement is a trendy topic in recent years. Companies have learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work to keep employees engaged.

But there are many myths still floating around that can harm your business if you think they are true.

Here are 6 busted myths about employee engagement you need to stop believing.

  1. Your Team Doesn’t Care About Having a Voice

According to Bamboo HR, many employees feel their voices aren’t heard. It is particularly the case during performance reviews when businesses don’t take action after concerns are expressed.

Create a company culture where the voices of all staff are heard and important. It is one way employees will feel valued. Extend this to all staff members – temps, interns, short term contractors, and all other employees.

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If your team doesn’t feel they have a say, they won’t be engaged in their work or your company.

  1. Your Brightest Employees Are the Only Ones Engaged

Many companies fall prey to this stereotype. They believe only the smartest employees are fully engaged at work.

This isn’t the case. While these employees may seem on top of work more often than other workers, they can be disengaged as well.

Prioritize having a fully engaged staff. Every team member brings value and something unique to the table.

Related: How Should I Deliver Bad News in the Workplace?

  1. Management Doesn’t Need Employee Engagement Training

Employee engagement doesn’t magically happen. Managers and supervisors need training on how to properly engage their team.

Even the most popular managers with the best people and leadership skills can fail at engaging employees.

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Provide training to all management members to ensure they’re successfully communicating and keeping the team engaged.

  1. Transparency Isn’t Important

Did you know one of the biggest deal breakers for your staff is a lack of management transparency? In other words, your team doesn’t trust you.

Be open with your team about what is going on in the company when it comes to changes, new policies, and any issues that are arising.

While some of these conversations are uncomfortable to have, they’re important; and your staff will appreciate the honesty.

  1. Millennials Aren’t Engaged at Work

Today, millennials make up 1/3 of the workforce. Don’t give in to stereotypes and believe millennials are lazy and more interested in their phones than their work.

Like any employee, millennials are hard, ambitious workers who want to work for companies who are passionate, dedicated, and treat their staff well.

Throw out age-old stereotypes because they aren’t true.

  1. Recognition Doesn’t Work

You may have heard the myth that recognition programs don’t work. That’s false. In fact, employees want more recognition and reward at work.

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They contribute to employee engagement and happiness. Studies show that only 40% of employees receive some reward or recognition from their employer every year.

Your employees wish management would show more appreciation. Don’t neglect them.

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What myths have you heard about employee engagement? What are your tips for keeping staff engaged?

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This Man Grew a Popular Startup When He Was Unemployed

Running a startup or small business is no easy feat. There are successes, and there are failures.

And there is a lot of hard work, long hours, passion, discipline, and dedication that goes into getting a startup off the ground.

Not every startup is an overnight success. Many fail. In fact, businesses have a 25% chance of failure within the first year. That only increases every year.

That was the case for Gabe Leydon – this man grew a popular startup when he was unemployed.

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Hard work and perseverance pays off.

His first startup failed, and he was on employment benefits, according to TechCrunch, when he started Machine Zone – now a company with an estimated net worth of $3-$5 billion.

Related: 6 People Who Failed Before Succeeding

Machine Zone, currently rebranding as MZ, is a front-runner as one of the top mobile companies in the world.

They created 2 out of 5 of the world’s most popular mobile games – Mobile Strike and Game of War. Today, Mobile Strike brings in revenues around $1 billion – alone.

Leydon and Machine Zone weren’t instantly successful. It has taken him 8 years to get where he is today.

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Startups, get ready to roll up your sleeves.

Of course, the stress, long hours, and work have taken a toll on his body. Leydon has pointed out many people believe he is older than he actually is – due to his graying hair and sometimes unkempt beard. But to him, it’s worth it.

Hopefully, this startup success story has inspired you to keep going. With a great team of employees (temps, interns, traditional workers, etc.), you can accomplish anything.

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What is your biggest challenge running a startup or small business? Have a success story to share?

 

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Recruiting for Your Startup? Here’s What You Need to Know

Hiring as a startup can be scary. You may not have a lot of experience with it. After all, most startups house a small team. And it’s crucial you find the right team members who are dedicated, passionate, and hard workers.

They need to be the right fit for your company – even more so when you’re a startup.

Are you recruiting for your startup? Here’s what you need to know.

Always Be on the Lookout

Many startups only begin to hire or recruit when they need to fill a position. By then, you’re already lagging behind. Everyone else on the team has to front the workload while you try to attract and find the right talent.

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Always be on the lookout for top talent. That way, when you need to hire for a position, you already have talent in mind. It moves the hiring process along much more quickly.

You need to be prepared if someone suddenly quits, or an employee must take time off to deal with a personal matter.

Treat Your Staff Well

Most startup employees deal with demanding hours and heavy workloads. It’s important to treat your employees well.

While you may not be able to afford lavish perks and benefits, offer them what you can. Perhaps encourage paid time off, vacation time, or company retreats. And don’t forget to provide reward and recognition often.

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According to StackHands, businesses with engaged and happy workers outperform companies without them by up to 202%.

Related: 3 Simple and Easy Tips for Working with New Temp Employees

 Hire Those Who Are Right for the Company

 Hiring the right person doesn’t always mean hiring someone exactly like you. Hire a candidate based off their skill set and the value they can bring to the company.

Consider company culture as well. Will that promising candidate fit in? Or clash with your startup’s mission and values? Extend it to all new hires – temps, seasonal staff, interns, and all other employees.

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What are your tips for recruiting for a startup or small business?

 

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