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Creating A Happy and Productive Office

Leijun Campbell - Friday, September 15, 2017


 

Though we know some of you are pounding the digital pavement from your home offices, a lot of you in the small business world work from a traditional office or co-working space. Though you may delegate a few tasks to virtual assistants, your physical location is the destination for your full-time and/or part-time staff.

 

The buzzword "company culture" may elicit some eye rolls; however, making sure your company evokes both happiness and productivity is not an entrepreneurial or corporate pipe dream. Below we list some of the ways for creating the ideal workplace environment

 

1. Minimize meetings - This advice seems much easier said than done as we often feel our meetings can produce monumental innovation and crucial client acquisition. If we are being honest, these "wins" happen less than we think. Out of a out-hour meeting, sometimes only 25% (or less) of the time yields anything productive or pertinent to your company's growth. If you need currently all of your weekly meetings to occur and cannot streamline communication through email or other digital applications, you can at least cut down on the time spent at the conference table. For the next few months, limiting your typical 60-minute weekly meeting to half an hour. You most likely won't even miss that other 30 minutes and will still accomplish what you need to get done.

 

2. Establish clear guidelines for communication - At this time, several generations exist inside a company whether the employees are Baby Boomers, Gen Xers or Millennials. And of course, each generation prefers a specific communication tool. However, instead of trying to analyze everyone's habits, you can try establishing an order of communication lines. For example, if a task or question needs attention but can wait a day or more, email the team or employee. If you need something completed within a few hours, try a companywide, instant message platform such as Slack or Google Hangouts. And if you have a completely unavoidable situation that must be resolved immediately, go for the telephone or face-to-face communication/surprise visit approach. You can implement these rules however you see fit, but be willing to give this strategy a shot and document which guidelines for communication work best.

 

3. Allow for moments of levity throughout the work day - You may read that suggestion and automatically think of Google-esque work environments with scooters, rock walls, dance parties and anything and everything seems completely unrelated to the task at hand. No one is asking for employers to go to that extreme, but implementing a few ways for team members to enjoy their work day is not a detriment to productivity. Some employers may let the workers dress casually, some may allow music to be played at low volumes or in headphones or some may offer free healthy snacks and coffee. You have to analyze the best tactics for YOUR company. Feel free to experiment subtly and see what happens.

 

If you would like some more information on creating a happy and productive office, feel free to email us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

Management Goals for the Rest of the Summer

Leijun Campbell - Friday, July 21, 2017

We recently celebrated the Fourth of July and have now entered into the summer lull that comes before the start of school, Labor Day and the holiday season. As managers and business owners, you have the perfect opportunity to set a few objectives for both the rest of the summer season and the rest of the calendar year.
 
1) Try and implement a unique sales and marketing technique: When business slows and meetings get less frequent because of vacationing employees and clients, you can always try to bring something new to your usual sales approach. Maybe you finally create an ecommerce site for your small store. Maybe you create a Facebook or Twitter page to start expanding your online presence. Maybe you jump start your email marketing efforts by creating a mid-year newsletter detailing all of your successes for the year so far and what you hope to accomplish by year’s end. Whatever you decide to do, keep track of what works and what will need improvement. If you discover great results through a certain technique,
 
2) Hold a summer review meeting: Gather your team at least once or twice over the next few weeks and check the pulse of your company’s culture and teamwork. Allow team members to ask questions about specific projects and pitch ideas for future endeavors. Provide a mission statement and/or vision for the next half of the year. Though you are the manager, you want your team to maintain a sense of ownership over each of their tasks so they can complete them to the best of their ability.

 

3) Recognize objectives completed and audit strategies for any open tasks: As a manager, you realize that celebrating the success of both the company and team members greatly increases morale for the next round of tasks. Take a look and recognize all of the recently completed objectives for the year and analyze reasons that the success occurred. On the other side of the spectrum, examine each of the tasks that have yet to be completed by your team. Are there any missing parts that could help finish the task? If so, you may want to pivot your strategy so you can easily fix the issue and move on to your company’s next project.
 
For more summertime management strategies, contact us today at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com

Who's The Boss: Finding Your Perfect Manager

Leijun Campbell - Friday, June 24, 2016

As a business owner, you want to be thoroughly involved with shaping the mission of your company as well as the team members who have joined you. However, you may eventually reach a point where you begin stretching yourself too thin and need someone else to handle daily operations. Here are a few qualities to look for when seeking out a manager that will help drive your vision and team forward.

 

The manager communicates effectively with the team, and in turn, the team trusts the manager - Communication and trust represent two of the most important aspects of any relationship and are incredibly crucial in a business setting. Your manager should be able to articulate expectations, objectives, and measurable goals in a way that motivates your team to perform beyond their potential. If the communication is open and effective, the team will be able to put their trust in that manager and work alongside them to create the best results possible.


The manager stays organized and calm in any situation - Sure, we all lose our cool sometimes, but the manager of your business should have a high enough emotional intelligence to where they do not explode or break down in a stressful environment. Your team looks to the manager for leadership and guidance; they do not want to see their leader crumble. Also, the manager must plan ahead for any and projects and meetings. Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a client or customer like a team who is not prepared to address their needs.


The manager cares about the customers and/or clients they are assisting - The last thing you want in a manager is disinterest or apathy towards the people who ultimately hold your livelihood in their hands. You want a manager who inspires to team members to go beyond what is expected in customer relationships. The manager should be a superb example of service and hospitality. Accepting anything less is detrimental to your team and your business.

 

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What Is Your Management Style?

Leijun Campbell - Friday, May 06, 2016

If you’re the owner of a small business, chances are you manage a team of talented, but sometimes very different, people. You want everyone to succeed, but you also want to establish the way in which you encourage this success.

 

Management Style

 

Here are a few management styles that you can use for your team.

 

1) Authoritative - Depending on the industry in which you and your team work, sometimes you need to be more strict as a leader to make sure your company's tasks are accomplished. You provide clear instructions to make sure every team member understands their part and the best way to succeed in their role. Your assignments have firm deadlines that allow the business to run efficiently.

 

2) Coaching - You focus on measurable goals for each team member and personally meet with them to discuss how to accomplish work-related tasks and to grow in their role at the company. When discussing mistakes and concerns, you try to acknowledge the consequences of the team member's actions, but also find a way to implement constructive criticism and positive reinforcement.

 

3) Collaborative - You enjoy hearing feedback and ideas from the people on your team. Your internal meetings focus heavily on brainstorming strategic endeavors to best reach your customers or clients. You try to offer as many opportunities as possible for innovation while still keeping all parties on task and moving the business forward.

 

To have tips, blogs and checklists sent directly to your inbox, click HERE!


Planning Ahead While Embracing Spontaneity in Your Business

Leijun Campbell - Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A common expression in business and life in general is "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail," a sentiment with which Campbell Business Services can agree, as seen in blog posts such as "Goal Setting for the Second Half of the Year". However, knowing the difference between setting flexible objectives and locking into strict expectations can help you improvise on the former while avoiding dead ends with the latter.

 

Here are a few ways to plan ahead and embrace the natural spontaneity that occurs in the day to day operations of your company:

 

1) Set objectives, but acknowledge that different steps can lead to the final result: Two plus two equals four, but so does three plus one. For example, your company has a specific profit goal for the year. You have a client who renews their contract every September, and this renewal makes up your biggest sale of the year. It's easy to get comfortable with that kind of arrangement, if the client has to cancel their service after 10 years of loyalty, you may be left scrambling. Remember that creating multiple ways to accomplish your goal is much more effective than putting all your eggs in one basket.  

 

2)  Understand that trends change, and you might have to follow suit sooner rather than later: In such a technology-driven society, businesses can always find ways to maintain their core standards and mission, but adapting your methods to maintain relevancy is necessary. Find time each day to read up on the latest industry news and encourage your team to do the same (you can also prepare a list of articles each week to send them). Pinpoint which trends affect you and your team and try to incorporate them frequently and smoothly.

 

3) Encourage your team members to put forth new ideas: As a company leader, you probably know specific ways in which you like to complete both short-term and long-term projects. While these habits are important to maintaining your company's vision,  be sure to set aside time before and after each task to discuss new angles and approaches, and allow your team to be part of the conversation. You may discover brand new ways to increase creativity and efficiency for your next product launch.

 

If you have any questions, feel free contact us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com

Preparing Efficient Monthly Checklists for Your Team

Leijun Campbell - Saturday, September 19, 2015

Though you never want to be labeled as a micro-manager in the eyes of your team, striking a balance between giving instructions and allowing autonomy for your assistants provides an unforgettable sense of trust.

 

The key question revolves around defining that balance and then creating a set of instructions and checklists that accomplishes that purpose on a monthly basis. Today, we'll discuss three different levels of checklists.  

 

1) Basic - This first set of checklists hearkens back to your assistant's job description and making sure every single "essential" task (big or small) gets listed. This level requires/allows you to maintain a relationship of accountability with that particular team member and ensures everything gets done in a timely manner.

 

2) Intermediate - After your assistants finish their "basic" tasks for the month, encourage them to schedule time during the month for pet projects that could help improve their department's productivity such as looking for a new CRM or accounting program. This level allows them to feel that sense of autonomy in their day to day as well as feel like they're contributing to the welfare of the department and/or company.  

 

3) Advanced - Finally, allow your assistants to establish a few steps in their checklist for professional development whether that is reading a certain number of industry articles or books per month or attending a 1-day conference every quarter. They will gain invaluable knowledge, and in turn, become a invaluable resource for your company.

 

If you have any further questions on this topic or executive assistance/business management, click here to contact us.

How to Be Productive in the Last Half Hour of the Work Day

Leijun Campbell - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It's Wednesday at 4:30, and you collapse into your desk chair. Today was full of more meetings than you can count: the weekly team meeting, the monthly brainstorming session with your biggest client, and a surprise conference from a friendly entrepreneur who knows how to stay just a little too much over his time.

 

The temptation once you fire up your computer for the last time of the day is just to coast through the last half hour without incident or receiving any unexpected tasks. Social media is calling your name, and dinner plans need to be made. However, using those remaining 30 minutes of your work day in a productive manner can make a significant difference for tomorrow or even the rest of your week.

 

Here are three things you can do to increase your end-of-day productivity:

 

1. Choose one to three small tasks that you can knock out easily: When we eliminate the busy work in our schedule, we're able to accomplish more of the important tasks. If you know an email to send a coworker or some copies you need to make for your upcoming presentation, don't put it towards tomorrow's to-do list; get it out of the way now.  

 

2. Make your schedule and/or to-do list for the next day or week: Though it's tempting to put off thinking about tomorrow or next week's work, taking care of writing out your to-do list in the morning saves at least ten to twenty minutes when you first get to your desk at 8 a.m. Mark the highest priority tasks to alert yourself that these need to be done first while your mind is more alert.

 

3. Catch up on industry news: Don't let your last 30 minutes consist of watching cat videos on YouTube, finding recipes on Pinterest or making "crucial" trades for your fantasy teams. Subscribe to three to five industry newsletters or blogs and spend some time studying the latest trends and brainstorming ways you can incorporate these tips into your current position.

Summer Business: Enjoy the Weather & Keep Your Entrepreneurial Focus

Leijun Campbell - Thursday, May 28, 2015

We hope you had an excellent Memorial Day weekend!

 

If you didn’t take an extended vacation this week or don’t have one in the near future, you’re most likely watching the summer unfold outside while you sit at your desk catching up on email with possible beach envy directed toward some of your coworkers’ Facebook/Instagram/Twitter accounts.

 

However, there are several ways to both enjoy the weather and summer vibes AND be productive in your business this season.

 

1) Leave your office for your lunch break: Whether you’re walking down the street to your favorite restaurant or making a trek across town for a lunch meeting, find a way to incorporate the sunshine into your calendar. If you choose the latter, try finding an outside table to enjoy with your prospective clients or customers. A little Vitamin D with a sandwich and iced tea is always good for the soul and business deals.

 

2) Open the blinds: If you’re in charge of an office of employees, don’t rely on fluorescent lights and computer screens alone. Invite the summer sunlight to join you and your employees/coworkers by keeping the blinds open (and the windows too if it’s not too humid). Last year, the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine discussed the benefits of keeping workers near the windows.

 

3) Take walking staff meetings: Don’t keep the weekly office gathering confined to the conference table this summer. Find a park nearby with a 5-10 minute round-trip walking distance and take your employees for a few laps. Record the meeting with an iPhone or smartphone and email it out to everyone as an mp3 as soon as you get back. Your employees will be able to stretch their legs and be more alert to pump out a few more winning ideas for upcoming projects.

 

If you have any questions about keeping an office productive during the summer, please feel free to contact us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!


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