Why You Should Care About Building a Strong Work Culture

building a strong work culture

Sociology blogger, Karl Thompson, found that we work roughly 92,120 of paid hours over the course of a lifetime (assuming you start working at age 18 and retire at 67). According to his calculations, this is also at least 50% of our total waking hours in any given working day. With half of our days (sometimes more) spent pushing pencils and focusing all of our energy on making a living, it’s imperative that burnout is prevented among employees. Business owners who desire continued financial success will want to stop this from happening too. For this reason, employers need to care about building a strong work culture. But, how do you go about doing this?

The Case for Building a Strong Work Culture

Our society seems to be obsessed with more; this falls among our work lives as well. For years, it’s been assumed that the more you push employees, the more they will do, and the more successful the business will be. Recent studies show, though, that this pressure and mindset actually increases company costs and reduces productivity. A December 2015 article in the Harvard Business Review shared that healthcare costs are 50 percent greater for those in high-pressure jobs and an estimated 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress, not to mention more than $500 billion is drained from our economy also because of workplace stress.

A positive work environment leads to happier and more productive employees as well as improve employee retention, Larry Alton, contributing writer for Forbes, explained in this February 2017 article, “Why Company Culture is Becoming More Important.” The business consultant added that it helps you to remain competitive and attract better talent. There is no one-size-fits-all way to build this corporate lifestyle, but the following are just a few.

How to Build a Strong Work Culture

Create a Vision

Before you build the ideal environment for employees, you need to know what kind of company culture you believe in and how you want everyone, especially employees, to view your business. This is where you define what the organization values and standards that will align with company goals. You’ll want to also make sure those in higher positions are following these standards to help establish and reinforce this vision you’re trying to implement.

Communicate

Communication is so important in business, especially when trying to enhance your work culture. Be transparent with your employees but also make it OK for them to ask questions or provide feedback if something doesn’t seem to be working. Even if you disagree with their stance, you can at least explain your side of the situation. This will at least help them understand if nothing more, and it can help limit resistance.

Provide a Sense of Freedom

Freedom is empowering, and micromanaging can make employees feel limited and frustrated with work. This can also attribute to the individuals feeling more connected to the company and really wanting to see things through. According to business and professional services platform Pluralsight, micromanagement not only leads to a loss of trust but dependent employees as well, which costs you more in time having to tell your employees what to do all the time.

Positive Employee Recognition

Work is stressful — that’s a given, which is exactly why you need to make sure that, when building a strong work culture, you take time to commend employees for a job well-done. Give credit where credit is due. This does not mean, though, that is need to be a daily affair. However, everyone could use some positive reinforcement every once in a while. This can also help with keeping co-workers in a team mindset rather than feeling all alone.

Being a business owner is no easy task, but having a team dedicated to your company’s success will help make your own job easier. What tips would you add to list?

8 Home Business Tips That Will Help You Make More Money

home business tips

Starting your own home business may be the start of an exciting path toward self-employment. Not to mention, it’s a great way to test the waters to determine if being your own boss is actually right for you. But, starting a business, whether in the comfort of your own home or not, takes a lot of work and dedication, and generating a profit can take two to three years (or longer). When you need your ventures to pay your bills, though, that can seem like  lifetime. Lucky for you, as a fellow business owner, I’ve compiled these home business tips that will help you make more money.

8 Home Business Tips That Will Help You Make More Money

Dress for the job…no matter where you are

There is a popular saying that goes, “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.” When you start working for yourself at home, it can be easy to stay in your pajamas all day and avoid a hairbrush. However, you should still dress and groom yourself just as you would for work outside of your home in order to stay in a productive frame of mind at the start of each day. Plus, if you do need to go to an impromptu meeting, you’ll be ready to go at any time.

Become a member of your Chamber of Commerce

One of your first actions as a new business owner should be to become a member of your local Chamber of Commerce. Chambers help businesses connect to other businesses with networking opportunities, and they also typically provide great platforms for advertising. Use your membership to tell other business owners what you do and sell, and build strong relationships to help encourage referrals. When you’re self-employed, you need all the help you can get to get your name out there. This is just one of the many ways to do so.

Never underestimate the power of great photos

Whether you like it or not, presentation is a large part of sales. Making your product or service look good through great photos can help attract more outside attention and give you the credibility your business needs to increase revenue. Make sure then to also display them appropriately on your website, marketing materials and other areas online when applicable. Take these photos in natural light for best results or consider investing in a nice camera. If you have a newer version of a smartphone, though, they do tend to also take quality photos.

Always bring your business cards with you

Opportunities exist in the strangest of places sometimes, so never leave your house without your business cards. If you don’t have any made, you should get them made immediately. Business cards are a great and convenient tool to use to share with people you meet about who you are, what you do, and how they can contact you.

Be quick to answer inquiries

This is one of the more crucial home business tips on which many miss the mark. Make it a point to answer inquiries as quickly as possible. Act like every request is a potential sale. Customers will appreciate your promptness and, even if they end up not buying from you, they will be more likely to refer you to friends, family, and colleagues. Excellent customer service is key to building your home business.

Use social media and other aspects of digital marketing to leverage your business further

If you aren’t using social media to grow your business, you’re missing out. Take some time to learn about the different platforms and how you can use them to showcase your product or services. Video marketing is bigger than ever, so you should definitely take advantage of this. Don’t be afraid of the internet when it comes to your business – embrace it, and use it to your advantage. Check out this quick guide on how to create a lucrative social media strategy.

Be organized and record all potential write-offs

A part of making more money is by saving money. Use a program like Quickbooks Online to track your expenses instead of doing it manually, which costs you more time that you could be using to grow your business. Plan for the future by recording your ongoing bills and seeing where you can make cuts. Any monthly subscriptions you aren’t using or causes more headaches than gains should go. That extra money can then be used to reinvest in things that will actually benefit your  business like advertising. Also, learn how to recognize what constitutes as a business write-off so that, come tax season, you are more than well prepared and don’t waste more time trying to figure this out.

Research the market and develop a plan

Before you dive into something new, make sure to do your research. Review the current market and see what the demand is for your product or service. Is the market over-saturated? Will your business be based on a trend, like fidget spinners, instead of something sustainable? Is there room for growth? In addition, when you start to determine your prices, make sure you price appropriately. Know what your profit margins and fixed costs will be and how much you need to make to break even as well as to make a profit. To know your break-even numbers, you’ll take your fixed costs divided by your gross profit margin percentage. When selling services, it may be harder to determine this, so you may want to start with how much you want to make in a year and how much time it takes you to do each service. Then, determine all your monthly expenses and come up with an hourly rate that will bring you to that goal. You may have to adjust this number over time. Keep in mind, too, that you may not be able to pay yourself this amount for a while.

Bonus Tip: Create multiple streams of revenue

Just as you would for your personal finances, you should find ways to create multiple streams of revenue for your business. This can be through blogging or even a YouTube channel. It should still be relevant to your business, but these passive income options will help you make more money and stay in business longer.

These home business tips will hopefully help you in your new venture. Just remember to stay consistent and find a great support system. Do you have any tips to add to the list?

Progressive HomeQuote Explorer Review

Progressive Homequote Explorer
This post was sponsored by Progressive.

Over the last few years, we’ve come to recognize Progressive Insurance thanks to Flo, the Progressive girl. Initially, when the company first began in 1937, it focused solely on auto coverage. Over time, the Ohio-based company stayed true to its name of being a progressive insurance company, and thus, expanded its services beyond vehicles. From golf carts to condos, customers can obtain coverage for some unique circumstances in addition to standard protection. They were the first major auto insurance company to have a website, they continue their history of innovation with a new service: HomeQuote Explorer.

HomeQuote Explorer Review

What is it?

HomeQuote Explorer is a free online quoting experience to help homeowners compare home insurance rates. Think Trivago for hotels, except it will show prices from multiple insurance companies side by side. Not just that, but when you do enter your information, HomeQuote Explorer will match you with the best policy for you based on your information. Currently, Progressive is the only insurer that offers anything like this, according to their website.

How does it work?

You start the process by entering the address of your home to their search bar on the site. Progressive then pre-fills any information they find based on public records of the house, which helps you save time. Their questionnaire also includes images to assist in the process of answering questions about your home, such as your roof type or flooring details.

Once you’ve completed the assessment, they’ll match you with what they feel is the best policy based on your answers. However, you do not have to choose their recommended. They also provide you with alternative rates and coverage to review – side-by-side comparisons of rates and coverage from multiple companies so that you can ensure you’re getting the best deal.

As you finalize your decision on your new home’s insurance option, you can simply buy it online or call Progressive to speak with a licensed agent.

Pros and Cons of Progressive HomeQuote Explorer

Pros:

On top of comparing your rates, they will even take care of the details with your mortgage company for you if you prefer. They’ll send a proof of insurance and coordinate the details, allowing you to lump in the payment to your mortgage rather than paying Progressive directly.

The information regarding their service is also very clear and easy to find. Their FAQ page answers just about any question you might have about the process, which is something I truly appreciate.

Cons:

The biggest con for me, personally, was that the HomeQuote Explorer was still relatively new when I gave it a try so there were still a few quirks. Using my current address, I went through the process as though I were buying my place. As I went through and filled out the information for my home insurance quote, the images the promotional video showed were not present. It was their old questionnaire that also did not have an auto fill option as promoted.

When I tried again, however, the new screen and features did appear. After going back and taking a look at the newer version of HomeQuote Explorer, this issue was resolved.

Another con I experienced was that the HomeQuote Explorer didn’t directly provide the homeowner’s insurance but rather partner with other companies to do so. Thus, they are limited in the discounts they can offer.

Progressive is a trustworthy company and continues to deliver a quality service. I can say this confidently as an auto insurance policy holder for the last three years. Regardless, it would still be wise to research other home insurance policies before purchasing through the HomeQuote Explorer. It does appear that some glitches are still being worked out.

All in all, the tool was easy to use and helpful in giving me an idea of one of my options for home insurance.

Interested in learning more about HomeQuote Explorer? Check out the video below: