5 Workplace Resolutions for the New Year

It’s that time of year again: the time when you draw up a list of New Year’s resolutions looking awfully similar to last year’s list. This year, why not go beyond the usual weight-related goals and resolving to spend less time on social media by setting some resolutions for the workplace? It’s time to turn yourself into a star employee! Here are five workplace resolutions for the New Year.

  1. Acquire a new skill 

You may be a dedicated worker, but you’re only as good as your skills. Are they up-to-date? Make a commitment to learn a new skill in your field this year or to significantly expand your current skill set. Broadening your range of knowledge and expertise can help you advance in your career.

  1. Improve your sleeping habits

If you’re yawning your way through your workday and checking items off your to-do list in between too many cups of coffee, you may want to rethink your sleeping habits. Getting enough shut-eye each night will help you power through your workday while at your best, instead of slogging through it bleary-eyed and half-asleep. In addition to boosting your productivity, sleeping better can strengthen your immune system, improve your mood, make your memory stronger and help keep those extra pounds off. 

Follow these tips from the CDC for a better night’s sleep:

  • Be consistent with your bedtime and wake time.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet when you’re ready for bed.
  • Keep your phone and other electronic devices out of reach or remove them from your bedroom. 
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and large meals before bedtime. 
  • Be physically active during the day.
  1. Rethink your work-life balance

A healthy work-life balance is crucial for success at work and further career growth. It isn’t easy to strike that perfect balance between absolute workaholic and careless employee, but you can do it! Take stock of your daily and weekly schedule now, at year’s end, to ensure you aren’t neglecting the parts of your life outside work, such as your family, friends, hobbies and more. If you’re overdoing it with work responsibilities, resolve to take some time each week to unplug from your job and tune into the rest of your life. 

  1. Improve your social media profiles

If you’re considering a career change within the next year or so, you may want to take a good look at your social media profiles. Most recruiters look up potential new employees online before moving ahead with the hiring, and if your social media profiles are in any way embarrassing and/or unprofessional, they can cost you a job. Spend some time now updating each of your profiles and ensuring that you’d be comfortable with any future boss checking them out.

  1. Create opportunities for engagement

Start the year off right by looking for ways to increase your engagement with other workers in your field. You can collaborate on present and future projects, share new insights and developments in your line of work and bounce ideas off each other for honest and productive feedback. Look for like-minded individuals on online forums and workspaces geared toward employees in your field. 

Let these workplace resolutions help you become the indispensable employee you’ve always wanted to be.

Your Turn: What are your workplace resolutions for the new year? Share them with us in the comments. 

What to Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life Is Uncertain

Title: What to Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life Is Uncertain 

Author: Jeff Henderson

Hardcover: 240 pages

Publisher: Zondervan

Publishing date: August 23, 2022

Who is this book for? 

  • Anyone interested in changing their career or life circumstances, but unsure of how to take that first step.

What’s inside this book?

  • A practical guide toward reevaluating your purpose and determining your next step in your life and in your career.
  • Jeff’s personal story and insights he’s learned along his own journey from marketer to church-founder and beyond.
  • The “Career Risk Calculator” to help you determine if you’re ready for change.

4 lessons you’ll learn from this book:  

  1. How to identify what to do, and what not to do when making decisions about change.
  2. How to exchange fear and confusion for confidence, freedom and purpose.
  3. How to cultivate optimal options in your life to guide you toward better decision-making.
  4. How to prepare for changes, both planned and unplanned.

4 questions this book will answer for you:  

  1. How can I pursue more meaning in my life?
  2. How do I know if I need a change?
  3. Is who I am right now as important as who I am becoming?
  4. I know I’m ready for change, so what’s my best next step?

What people are saying about this book: 

“The Great Resignation has resulted in millions of people wondering what’s next for them. It’s one of the reasons I’m excited about Jeff Henderson’s book. His practical and winsome approach will have you highlighting, laughing, and enjoying the story. All the while, he’ll help you take important steps toward figuring out what’s next for you.”–Michael Hyatt

“As a fellow restless traveler who took a career leap of faith in my fifties, I found comfort in Jeff Henderson’s journey … Change is hard. But Jeff Henderson helps make it easier.”–Stephanie Stuckey

“In an era when millions of people are facing a seemingly infinite set of career options and rethinking their futures, Jeff Henderson arrives with a thoughtful, highly practical and generous book. If you’re looking for actionable strategies and wise counsel, pull up a chair and let Jeff coach you.”–Carey Nieuwhof

“Reading this book is like having a million-dollar coach in your corner helping you navigate your next move confidently.”–Sangram Vajre

“Authentic. Helpful. Freeing….What to Do Next is a must-read resource for anyone looking for clarity, empowerment, and vision for what’s ahead.” –Shelley Giglio

Your Turn: What did you think of What to Do Next? Share your opinion in the comments. 

How to Prepare Your Business for the Holiday Season

The holidays may be a few months away, but it’s never too early to start planning. The more advance prep you do to get your business ready for the holidays, the easier it will be to sail through these months hitting all the right bases with lower stress levels.

Here are some tips to get you started. 

Plan your marketing and promotions

Before the season officially starts, set aside time to strategize about your holiday marketing. Use data and metrics from last year’s holiday season, as well as current trends, to come up with a plan that will drive the best results. The earlier you start laying out your plan, the more time you’ll have to reach your target audience before the holidays.

At this time, you may want to plan for promotions and giveaways, too. Research popular freebies that align with your industry and company values and price them at various sources to get the biggest bang for your buck. Place your order early to avoid paying top dollar for a rush job and to ensure you have what you need well in advance. 

Stay organized

For many businesses, the holiday season is characterized by a general sense of chaos. This can translate into lower productivity levels and compromised service. Avoid this by maximizing the organization level at your business before the holiday madness sets in.

Brainstorm with your team for ways you can improve the organization of your business during super-busy times of year. For example, make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need for the holiday season. If there are multiple projects planned for the coming months, consider using a collaboration app, like Asana or Lionscribe, to ensure everyone is always on the same page. Finally, if you have a storefront, consider rearranging the layout to allow for an easier flow of traffic in popular areas. 

Hire and train seasonal workers 

If your business typically hires extra workers for the holiday season, get a head start on this year’s hiring. You can start meeting with potential seasonal employees and working out their hours now. Things will only get crazier, and crossing one task off your to-do list and having those extra hands available as soon as you need them will help to keep things calm as the outside flurry begins. 

Review vacation policies

It won’t work to have half your team out at the same time, or to have some employees feeling resentful because they weren’t granted their desired time off. Avoid these kinds of issues by reviewing and tweaking your vacation policies now, well in advance of the holidays. Once you’ve come up with a reasonable policy, be sure to share it with your employees with enough time for them to work out their vacation schedules in advance.

Plan ways to boost employee morale

The crunch time leading up to the holidays can be stressful for many people. There are social obligations to attend, lists of gifts to buy and the other preparations to tend to before the holidays. Add the pressure of finishing up the year at work during the busiest season, and you’ve got a recipe for a stressed-out team.

Head off the problem of burnt-out employees in the holiday season by pre-planning ways to boost morale on a group and individual level. Get staff input on how to celebrate the season in ways that go beyond the obligatory office party. Consider supporting a charitable organization by partnering with the charity of your choice throughout the holiday season. Ask your team to help you choose the charity, which will spread good feelings and buy-in all around. You can also make a point of increasing your positive feedback to your employees during the holiday season.

It’s never too early to start preparing for the holidays! Use these tips to get your business ready for the busiest season of the year.

Your Turn: How does your business prepare for and thrive during the holidays? Share your best tips with us in the comments. 

How to Stay Up-to-Date in Your Field

Whatever your chosen field or level of training, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest developments, trends and discoveries in your line of work. The world is constantly evolving, and what worked a decade ago, last year or even last month may be considered passé or even damaging in today’s world. Here’s how you can ensure you’re always current within your field. 

Pair up with a work buddy

Experience is truly the best teacher. If you don’t have enough of your own, why not piggyback on someone else’s experience to help you learn? Find a mentor, or work buddy, in your chosen industry by teaming up with a friend in your field. You can share ideas, ask questions about new developments in your industry and open a dialogue about valuable lessons each of you have learned while on the job. Ask your work buddy to provide feedback on any big projects you’ve completed, and serve as a sounding board for them as well. The partnership will help both of you stay updated and knowledgeable about all recent happenings in your field. 

Pursue further education 

Education in any subject is a lifelong pursuit. Broadening your knowledge in your field will help you up your game and advance your career. You can accomplish this by signing up for an online or in-person course, or reading a new book that covers topics in your field. 

In 2022, though, there are so many more ways to learn about any topic you can dream up. Tap into the powerful reach of social media by following accounts of experts in your field on platforms like Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You’ll likely pick up a tremendous amount of insight and helpful tips for your line of work. You can also tune into one of the many podcasts on almost every line of work to stay up-to-date in your industry.

Attend networking events

Meeting with other professionals in your field will help you stay connected and aware of every new development. You can seek out networking events on your own or ask your employer to send you to events on behalf of the company. At the actual events, work on forging relationships with other experts in your line of work. 

Utilize Google Alerts

Take advantage of Google Alerts to stay current in your field. You can do this by signing up to be notified when specific keywords are trending on the Google search engine. This will negate the need for you to constantly seek out industry news; instead, the news will be delivered directly to you.

Your Turn: How do you ensure you are always up-to-date in your chosen field? Share your best tips in the comments. 

5 Ways to be a Better Coworker

Every employee wants to be that coworker the entire team loves. But when you’re working with the same people day in and day out, it can be challenging to constantly put your best foot forward. Whether you’re in the same workplace for a while or you’re just starting out, here are five ways to be a better coworker.

  1. Communicate in person

Yes, it’s old-fashioned, and yes, there are so many other ways to communicate, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, talk to your coworkers in person. In an NPR TED Radio Hour, psychologist Susan Pinker said that face-to-face interactions can trigger the release of oxytocin in the body, which can positively impact your mood and help promote trust and collaboration. 

  1. Pay it forward

Kindness has a place in the workforce, too. Whenever you can, do a favor for a coworker without expecting anything in return. You can offer to make another team member a coffee, to pick up lunch if you’re running out anyway or even to help with their workload if you see they’re overwhelmed. Kindness always generates warm feelings in both directions. 

  1. Work hard

Nobody likes a shirker. Make sure you always do your job well and meet all your expectations at work. You’ll be helping the entire team stay productive and avoid any resentment that coworkers may harbor toward a member of the team who doesn’t pull their weight. 

  1. Be honest about your capacity

While you want to do your job well, it’s also important not to take on more than you can handle. If you’re asked to shoulder additional work and you’re completely swamped, you’re better off explaining that you can’t take on any more work at the moment, instead of agreeing to do it and then struggling to get it done on time or let other work suffer. It’s always best to be honest – with others and with yourself. 

  1. Avoid gossip

Catching up on office gossip around the water cooler is a daily ritual for many employees, but it doesn’t make many friends. It’s always great fun to hear the latest about everyone at the office, but no one wants to be the one everyone else is dishing about. If you build a name for yourself as the team member who avoids gossip, you’ll also be the one everyone loves and knows they can trust completely.

Follow these tips to put your best foot forward at work!

Your Turn: Are you an awesome co-worker? Tell us about it in the comments.

5 Steps to Take When Applying for a Business Loan

If your business can use a shot of cash to help it grow, fund a move or to get through its slowest season, a business loan can be the right answer. 

Here’s what you need to know about applying for a business loan.

  1. Check your credit

Before you apply, check your personal and business credit health. 

Personal credit scores range from 300-850. A score in a range of 580-669 is fair, 670-739 is good, 740-799 is very good and 800-850 is exceptional. In general, the higher your score, the easier it will be for you to qualify for a loan and the lower the interest rate you’ll have on your loan when approved.

Business credit scores are measured differently. Experian uses Intelliscore Plus as its credit scoring model, with scores ranging from 1 to 100. Equifax assigns each business a payment index score, which ranges from 0 to 100; a credit risk score ranging from 100 to 992 and a business failure score ranging from 1,000 to 1,880. The D&B score, assigned by the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation, ranges from 0 to 100. Finally, the FICO Small Business Scoring Service score ranges from 0 to 300. 

If your personal and/or business credit scores are low, work on improving your credit before applying for a loan. Be timely or early with your bill payments, work on getting rid of debt and check your monthly credit statements for any erroneous charges.

  1. Update your business plan

Most lenders will ask to see a current business plan before approving a loan. It’s a good idea to review and update yours so it’s ready to show a potential lender. The plan should include information about the loan, such as how the company plans to use the funds. 

Be sure to have a comprehensive business plan to show a prospective lender. The plan should include details about how the company intends to use the funds, the anticipated increase in revenue and plans for repaying the loan. 

3. Organize your personal and business documents

You’ll need the following documents and identifying paperwork when applying for a business loan:

  • Photo ID
  • Accurate monthly financial statements from the past two years
  • Business license
  • Any commercial leases
  • Business insurance plans
  • Payroll records
  • Incorporation documents
  • Current financial obligations
  • 3 months of bank statements
  • Personal and business tax returns
  • Collateral

4. Research potential lenders

A business loan is a big deal, and it’s best not to jump into the decision too quickly. Take the time to research potential lenders carefully, being sure to check each lender’s eligibility criteria, the average size of the loans they offer, their current interest rate average and more. 

Consider applying for a business loan through a credit union. A credit union will offer you personalized service, looser qualifying criteria and a competitive interest rate. [Call, click, or stop by Advantage One Credit Union today to discuss your options.] 

5. Submit your application

You’re ready to apply for a loan! With luck, you’ll soon have the funds you need to take your business to the next level. 

Your Turn: What are your best tips for taking out a business loan? Tell us about it in the comments. 

How to Build a Positive Company Culture

A company culture describes the beliefs and values a business upholds. It generally includes the company’s long-term goals and visions, its mission statement, as well as various details about its work environment and company policies. 

Establishing a positive company culture in your workplace can have several significant benefits, including: 

  • Engaged and happy employees
  • Lower employee turnover rates
  • Higher productivity 
  • Increased team morale
  • Positive company image

However, a strong and vibrant company culture doesn’t just happen. It takes intentionality. Here’s how to proactively create a positive company culture: 

  1.  Define your company’s values

Take a moment to define your company’s core values and goals. Why did you launch your business? What is the single most important value to your business? In what way do you hope to improve the lives of your clients? What niche do you hope to fill in your industry? 

Turn your list into a simple, yet actionable, statement to help build the first component of a positive company culture. 

As you work through this step, it’s a good idea to look for ways you can improve your business practices and processes to better align them with your values and goals. 

  1. Ask your employees

Your employees can provide a unique perspective into your company. Send your employees a short survey to get feedback on various aspects of your business, including specific company policies, work processes and more.

Here are some questions you can include in your survey: 

  • What’s your favorite part about working here?
  • If you could change one company policy, which would you change, and why?
  • What are your personal goals for your job here?
  • How can we improve our company culture? 
  • Do you believe there is effective communication between the various levels of workers?
  • Do you know and agree with the company goals? 
  • How can we boost productivity?

When building or improving your company culture, be sure to incorporate the results of your survey. 

3.  Check out the competition

Having trouble defining your company’s values and purpose into an actionable phrase? Check out the mission statements, branding and values of your competitors and peers, or of any business in your industry and beyond, for inspiration. Take note of what you like and don’t like in other companies, and use these notes to build your own company culture. 

4.  Create a mission statement

Now that you have defined your company’s values and goals, surveyed your employees and researched the competition, you’re ready to create a mission statement for your business. A mission statement is a concise message describing your company’s goals and products in a way the average person can understand. Your mission statement will incorporate your company values and goals, and serve as a foundation to your company culture. 

  1. Put your company culture into writing

You now have all the components you need to create a positive company culture for your business. Take the time to blend all the various parts of your culture, including the values, goals and mission statements of your business, as well as the work environment and employee behavior you hope to build. 

  1. Implement and tweak as necessary

After you’ve created your company culture, you can work on sharing it with your employees and implementing it in your workplace. 

Build an action plan to help successfully implement your company culture. This will likely be a multi-step process taking several weeks, or even months. Be sure to incorporate your mission statement, vision, goals and values as you work through this process. When you’ve implemented your company culture successfully, every aspect of your company should reflect your defined company culture.

Finally, be sure to review and tweak as necessary on a regular basis. 

A positive company culture can do wonders for increasing the level of productivity and employee retention at your company so you can better grow your business. Follow the tips outlined here to learn how to build a positive company culture.

Your Turn: Have you successfully built a company culture for your business? Share your tips in the comments. 

Ten Signs it’s Time to Leave a Job

Making it work at work isn’t always easy, but sometimes the environment, working conditions, lack of growth and other factors can mean it’s time to call it quits. Here are 10 signs it’s time to leave a job: 

  1.  You aren’t challenged.

If you feel like your skills and strengths aren’t being used on the job, you are likely limiting your growth potential. This is especially true if you’ve been at the position for a while and have been denied opportunities to really use your skills. 

  1. You aren’t passionate about your work.

If you took a job that seemed to speak to your passions, but you are growing increasingly disinterested in your work, you may want to look for another job. 

  1. The work environment is unpleasant.

You may love the actual work you do at your job, but if the environment is unpleasant, 

or worse, toxic, it can be time to hand in your resignation. This includes colleagues who don’t get along, an overly critical or controlling boss or supervisor, an atmosphere of dishonesty and 

distrust, and the like. 

  1. You’ve maxed out your growth at this company.

If you know you’ve hit your ceiling and there’s no or limited room for growth at this firm, consider moving on to new ventures

  1. Your values are being compromised.

Compromising your values on a regular basis can leave you feeling miserable. If you’re being forced into this position in the workplace, it may be time to leave your job. 

  1. The company’s future is unstable.

If the ship is sinking, get off while you can. You can review the company’s annual financial reports for insight into its stability and future. 

  1. You aren’t earning your true worth.

If you know you aren’t being adequately compensated at your current job, consider seeking a new one elsewhere. You can look up average salaries for similar positions on sites, like Glassdoor, to determine if you are earning your true worth. 

  1. You dread returning to work after a break.

It’s normal to look forward to the weekends and to count down until your next vacation, but if you feel physically ill at the thought of returning to work after the weekend or break, or work stress keeps you up at night, it can be a sign that it’s time to leave your job. 

  1. Your job can no longer provide you with the work-life balance you need.

Whether it’s due to changing circumstances in your personal life or to an increase in hours at your position, your job requirements may no longer be in sync with your home life. If this is the case, it may be worthwhile to seek new employment. 

  1. There are better opportunities available elsewhere.

If you know that another company has job openings that may be better than what you have currently, it can be a good time to switch jobs. When considering new options, don’t forget to look at the entire package, including room for growth, benefits the job offers, paid time off and the general schedule and more, in addition to the actual salary.

Your Turn: How do you know when it’s time to leave a job? Share your own tip with us in the comments. 

The Power of One More: The Ultimate Guide to Happiness and Success

Title: The Power of One More: The Ultimate Guide to Happiness and Success 

Author: Ed Mylett

Hardcover: 272 pages

Publisher: Wiley

Publishing date: June 1, 2022

Who is this book for? 

  • Anyone looking for a way to live a happier life, enjoy better relationships and grow their wealth. 

What’s inside this book?

  • A culmination of revolutionary ideas Ed has built over the course of 30+ years as a successful entrepreneur, performance coach, bestselling author, podcaster and inspirational speaker. 
  • An actionable roadmap for achieving your personal and professional goals using tools you already have.
  • A meaningful discussion intersecting faith, energy and quantum science

4 lessons you’ll learn from this book:  

  1. The dynamics of team chemistry and how to utilize them to become a One More Multiplier.
  2. All about your Reticular Activating System and how to live in your Matrix.
  3. Why you should become an Impossibility Thinker and a Possibility Achiever.
  4. The power of developing one more positive habit, fighting one more battle, creating one more identity and building one more relationship.

4 questions this book will answer for you:  

  1. Can I really achieve my goals and dreams without any significant changes to my life circumstances?
  2. How can I remove the mental roadblocks that have been holding me back from success? 
  3. How do I tap into the superpowers that exist inside me?
  4. What steps do I need to take to take my life from ordinary to extraordinary?

What people are saying about this book: 

“The strategies in The Power of One More are universal. You can incorporate them into your life whether you’re a CEO, a world-class athlete, active in your community, or if you want to build better relationships with your family and friends.”

The Power of One More is a must-read for anyone seeking a happier and more successful life.

This groundbreaking book is the first of its kind, revealing how you can combine thoughts and actions to unlock dynamic and impactful changes.

“The premise of The Power of One More is simple: you are closer to living your best life than you may think.”

Your Turn: What did you think of The Power of One More? Share your opinion in the comments. 

5 Ways to Survive the Summer Slump

When the days stretch on endlessly and the summer sun beats down on the sidewalk, productivity dips. The dreaded summer slump hits businesses when daydreaming employees become less productive, part of the team is out on a summertime getaway and the stream of customers slows to a trickle. 

The summer slump is inevitable for most businesses, but with good planning you can sail smoothly through the summer months without taking a big hit. Here’s how:

  1. Plan ahead

Instead of waiting until you’re half-staffed in mid-July, establish a clear policy for taking summertime leaves. You can ask all team members to let you know when they plan to take time off at least two months in advance, only allow a specific number of employees to take off at a time, or limit the number of employees who take off at the same time from a single department. You might even choose to shut down completely for a week or two to keep productivity levels up for the bulk of the summer. Host a pre-summer team meeting and make sure each employee is clear on the policy or plan. 

  1. Strategize for the holiday season

Whoever said you can’t have Christmas in July? Take advantage of the slower summer season to come up with a great strategy for the upcoming holiday season.Team members will have more time to devote to meetings and planning, and preparing for the holiday rush well before the school year even starts will give you a leg up on the next quarter.

  1. Host a summer bash

Draw customers to your store or website by hosting a spectacular mid-summer bash. Don’t wait until Independence Day or Labor Day to slash your prices; do it for no reason at all during the slowest time of summer. When you’re the only business running a sale, you’re more likely to attract customers. 

  1. Improve your social media presence

Use your spare time during this season to up your game on social media. See if you can improve your brand’s online persona, find ways to make your blog shine and dream up a zany summertime video contest to share with your customers. You can also choose to meet with a professional social media consultant to see how you can improve your online presence.

  1. Learn new skills

Summer presents a great opportunity for acquiring new skills that can help you grow your business. Sign up for an online or in-person course, reach out to an expert for some one-on-one coaching or read an instructive book on a subject that’s closely related to your business. Broadening your knowledge and skill set is always beneficial for your business. 

Business might be slower during the summer, but you can find ways to limit a productivity lapse and to grow your business in the long-term. Follow these tips to make the most of your time this summer. 

Your Turn: How does your business survive the summer slump? Share your tips with us in the comments.