Managing a Virtual team

As we all know, that world has become a global village with the onset of internet and telecommunication advancement. Internet has brought the whole world together with the click of the mouse. The vistas of business world are expanding widely with the fast communicating world. Now you can build, expand and manage your business online as efficiently as you do it at your office. For every successful business, you need a team of highly skilled and motivated employees. Now hiring and retaining employees can be an expensive deal and most small business owners struggle with this important aspect of their business. Most of the internet savvy business owners are resorting to hiring employees online and getting their work done through this virtual team. It not only saves office space and other overheads, it also gives them access to a vast talent pool for affordable prices.

Managing a Virtual TeamBut managing a virtual team can be tricky sometimes. You can’t just walk over to their desk anytime and see the work progress or monitor their work. So how do you make sure you get the work done on time and as per your guideline? Below are a few tips that might be helpful in managing your virtual team:

  • Establish Flawless Communication:

The first rule of managing a successful virtual team is to establish a flawless communication system. Keep in touch with your team members via email, phone or Skype. It is a great practice to have a combined conversation or a virtual meeting once a week. This will develop an insightful team spirit when all the members know each other well. Make it a point to motivate and encourage your team members virtually through these meetings. And keep your communication systems flawless. Have a high speed internet connection and try to remove all communication hurdles

  • Set team objectives and goals:

Like a real team, set your virtual team’s objectives and goals clearly. Then plan every step to achieve those goals. When your team knows about their goals, it will strive for achieving them harder.

  • Manage workload on weekly basis:

It is a good practice to give your team member a weekly schedule ahead of time, this way it becomes easier to manage the workload. Daily workloads often get into technology mishaps, so try to manage your work on weekly basis. You can also manage your work 5-6 days a week and give a day or two off for rest.

  • Give regular feedback:

Always keep in mind to encourage and keep your team members on the road to success by giving regular feedback. This will make their work easy and after some time they will work better than your expectations. Be extremely polite and professional in giving feedback so as not to discourage your team members.

  • Keep Time differences in mind:

When you are managing a virtual team from different corners of the world, always keep in mind the time differences. Do not make anyone feel left out because of their time clash. Always keep rotating the meeting time to involve everyone in your meetings at different time.

  • Be sensitive about the cultural differences:

When you are managing a virtual team, the members will be from different cultures and might need work days off according to their culture and rituals. So be sensitive about these cultural differences. Never show prejudice to any of your team members because of his/her cultural background.

  • Be available to your team members:

If you are heading a team, you ought to be available to your team members all the time. Even if you are not in office you can use technology to be connected to your team members on the go. If you can’t do that, either keep a virtual assistant or hire a team leader for this purpose.

At the end of the day, managing a virtual team or an employee’s team in your real office is not that different. You have to keep the basics in check – communicate, prioritize work, motivate employees and have a good incentives scheme for your high performing employees. The only difference is how you manage to do so with a team which may be miles away physically and I hope the above mentioned points help bridge that gap.

Tips for better Work-Life balance

Work-Life balance is a real problem in this fast-paced work environment and should be handled with great care. It is a common observation that most people in demanding jobs can’t really manage both quite well, hence adding to the stress of routine life. Off course managing a job successfully can highly stressful but one should always keep in mind that the job is for the happiness and security of personal and family life.
Work-life balance tips At the end of the day, no job or business can give you as much satisfaction as spending some quality times with your family and friends. You will certainly regret the moments you could have spend with your loved ones if you spend every waking moment stressing about your work.

So let’s see how you can manage your work-life in a better way. I have a few tips for you, which are quite simple yet extremely rewarding:

  • Plan your day with some quality family time. When you plan your day ahead and tell yourself that you will spend some quality time with your family, you will bring a lot of balance in your life. Maybe just an hour or two would be enough for a great family time, but if you don’t plan ahead there is a possibility that a lot other things will get in the way.
  • Try to finish your work during office hours. If it gets really necessary to bring office work at home, keep a separate work area away from dining or family area. This way you can completely focus on finishing your work rather than dragging it during your family time.
  • If you are being over burdened some days with huge assignments, you can always ask for help from your colleagues. And they will surely help you if you return the favor during their time of need. Try to manage as much as you can but if you are working way over time and can’t seem to control the work load then you can have a chat with your boss to diffuse the workload.
  • Outsource some of the work that sucks your energy or time. Nowadays, there are many responsibilities that can be handled by someone else easily. Try to think of ways on how you can make your work load lighter. Also, try to stop all the diversions like mindless internet surfing or office gossip.
  • Get up early in the morning. This will refresh you and keep your mind in focus. Those who get up late and go straight to work take a great deal of stress with them. If you get up early, take a nice long walk, enjoy some family time over breakfast and you will feel much better and energetic to start your work day.
  • Learn to say no even if it is hard for most of us to do so. If you are being over burdened with work or dragged into a useless party, just say no and save that precious time for yourself and your family.
  •  Take out some “me time” for yourself and do whatever you like – exercise, meditate, take a yoga class, paint, play a sport – whatever helps you unwind. In a tough routine, it usually gets hard to even think of taking care about you, but it makes a great deal of impact on your overall stress management. Take a yoga class or go for a run early in the morning. If you feel great, you can manage your work better too.

I would like to end this post with a quote by Lao Ztu:

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
– Lao Tzu

 

Dealing with difficult clients

Every new client brings a new experience and helps you get a better market exposure. Some of them are absolutely perfect, understanding and never get in the way of your expertise but others will surely make your head spin with their behavior. Dealing with difficult clientsSuch clients are not rare and you should be armed with techniques and clichés to deal with them.
Are you having difficulty in handling a client? Then you surely need to understand the definition of a difficult client first.

 

  • They come in the way of your expertise and constantly brag about their knowledge
  • They don’t trust you and often tell you that they can find a better option
  • They keep changing the project details every now and than
  • They  are very controlling and authoritative about the project
  • They  message you and want updates from you more than it is required

You will find many clients giving all these troubles or some will pick a few of these but whenever you notice such behavioral problems, beware – you are dealing with a difficult client!

Let’s see how to deal with such clients, after all we want our projects to go through smoothly and we cannot drop each and every project. You should maintain a good repute even with handling such clients.

  • Keep documentation record:

The first and foremost rule in handling clients is that you should never go easy with the written documents. Whatever you do, keep a written record. From the start of the project, get all the details in a document. Then you can safely complete your work without any fear. You can always show your client these documents at any point in case a conflict arises.

  • Understand the Psychology:  

Try to understand the psychology of your client and deal with them accordingly. Give regular updates and ask for feedbacks. If they are not confident over your abilities, try to make win them over by being extra smart. If your client is impatient about the work, you just need to update them regularly and politely assure about the work progress. If a client is too pushy and authoritative, you need to show some authority yourself. Remember you need to show authority to a bully to shut them up. So just observe tentatively about your client’s psychology and then act.

  • Give Respect:

Even if your clients are aggressive and ultimate nightmares, always give them respect. You should always act bigger than the other person to win the situation. So never lose your control and always respect the client.

  •  Don’t Argue:

Never argue with your client. Try to show them your perspective in direct ways like on a document or drawing for easy understanding. Tell them the pros and cons of their decisions. If they still insist on a wrong decision, then let them because after all it is their work. Arguments always worsen the situations, so keep away from them.

If you follow these basic guidelines and of course your own intuition, you should be ready to deal with the client from hell!

 

How to be a better Leader?

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality”.
Warren G. Bennis

The above words by Mr. Bennis really define leadership and a leader. A leader is not only a charismatic person with a flattering tongue, as we usually imagine him to be. A great leader has to have a far reaching vision on which he has firm belief and strives to turn that vision into a reality by the help of well organized plans through highly skilled people. Being a leader is really not as easy as it sounds; you have to muster a great amount of potential and skill, in addition to an extra ordinary vision. 

How to be a better leaderI just remembered another quote about leadership which states that leadership cannot be taught, it can only be learned. In this quote, you can actually find out the first step to be a better leader. Can you see what I am talking about? You got it right! You need to open yourself to learn about leadership. No one is going to come and teach you. It is you who have to take the initiative and actively observe great leaders to understand the art of leadership.

When you will start observing the traits of great leaders, you will understand that leadership is basically the art of making others do what they wouldn’t do if they are not led. In other words, a great leader is a master of people’s minds. Here we are going to discuss four principles to improve your skills for making people work for you happily and make your visions come true:

1.      Trade Minds with your subordinates:

This one basic principle is going to work like magic because it makes you think like the one whom you want to influence. Trading minds means getting into the shoes of other person and thinking out their reaction about a particular situation. You can forward your instructions better and inspire others to take action if you speak their language rather than your own. You can become a great speaker if you talk about the interests of your audience rather than babbling your own interests. You can influence anyone if you keep in mind their background and talk accordingly.

2.      Be a human not a machine:

Let’s admit something universal, nobody likes to be treated like a machine. Most of the times, people hate their bosses just because they are treated like mere machines than humans. If you want to be a great leader, treat people like humans. Keep a Be-Human approach in every situation.

3.      Think improvement and strive for higher standards in everything:

A leader’s mind sees what others don’t, that is what makes him a leader. Think progress; strive for improvement and better ways to do everything. Think ways to add value to your services, your subordinates and customers. Push for improvement and maintain higher standards in every aspect of your command.

4.      Take out time to confer yourself:

You have the solution to every problem if you use your inner wisdom. Try to tap your supreme thinking power daily to solve all your problems and get creative ideas.

Use these extremely simple yet powerful tips to be a great leader.  Have some tips of your own? We would love to hear them in the comments sections.

Naming a New Business

How important is a business name?

When starting a new business, one of the huge challenges you encounter other than creating a business plan is choosing the right business name. Your business name is very important for your business identity. If you want to create a mark in the market as well as make your customers remember your business, you have to come up with an effective business name. Keep in mind that your business name can play a substantial role in making or breaking your business position.

Naming a new businessFor every business, the business name is the only one that remains constant over a period of time. And that is one good reason why you have to have it right the first time. Your business name is what is usually remembered by customers and it creates the recall value of the product or services you are offering. As a result it gives value to your business and often the name of your business is an asset in itself.

Choosing the Right name for your Business

Creating a name for your business is actually not as easy as giving a name to a child or a pet. Proper consideration is needed to make it as effective for your business as possible. Before starting a new business, you have to come up with a business name that says more about your company’s expertise, products or services you offer and its distinctiveness from others. Creating a business name definitely needs several days of brainstorming. There are many factors that should be considered before selecting a right and an effective name for your business.

Your business name should be direct to the point and not just a charming one-liner which only you or your partners can understand. Make it short and easy to be remembered and be understood by customers. Customers should be able to distinguish the name of your business from your other competitors. Make it short and concise. If you need to think outside the box, then do so. With the many rising new businesses today, no doubt almost all words in the dictionary have been trademarked. So it has become a big challenge to come up with a unique name for your business. But with some innovations like tweaking of original words and spelling, you can create a name that is meaningful, unique and appealing to customers.

Getting the experts’ help

If you are a new entrepreneur and just starting a new business, turning to experts is also a good idea. You can always seek an expert’s advice in naming your business. It is very important especially if you are in the line of business that has a wide range of competitors. It makes your business name much more crucial in influencing your success. Getting around with some trademark laws is an important of creating a name. And having a business naming expert will make the process easier for you.

Naming a new business requires great effort on your part. The name of your business carries a potential for success in your company. It influences how your potential and existing customers will remember you. Since a name can prove a lot for your success, take your time in choosing one. And after choosing the right one, get on to your business and make that name be known.