Are you forever staring at your computer screen, mind gone blank, when it comes to creating posts for your social media? Do you just not know where to start? Or what to say? Then check out my top tip for ensuring you never struggle again:

Love to hear your best tips for creating social media posts for your market – please comment below x

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This post brought to you by The Print Group folder-626332_640

Do you ever wonder what would happen to your business if you got hit by a bus? Or, perhaps more realistically, you were laid low with a virus in the middle of a crazy busy work week?

Chances are the business would grind to a halt until you’d recovered. For many small businesses, all the knowledge on how the business runs is in the owner’s head. Their plan for how the business will deal with owner absences is simply…well…not to have any absences! No illness or emergencies allowed. I’ll be stating the obvious to say there are serious flaws to this plan.

If you have a business that you care about (and of course you do), you owe it to yourself and all of your hard work, to document your systems and processes, in a way that others can access when needed.

Aside from being extremely handy during emergencies, there are many more reasons why documenting your business is a great idea:

1. The act of getting your processes on paper is valuable exercise in itself. It will allow you to examine your business in detail. You may find ways to finesse what you do, reduce effort and save money.

2. If you have staff, contractors, or outsource certain jobs, having a clear description of roles and responsibilities is incredibly helpful. It will ensure everyone understands what they are meant to do, and how their role flows through to the broader business.

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3. When you introduce new personnel, the process will be a whole lot smoother if everything is well documented. You’ll know what you need to run through during training, and won’t need to go over every little detail, as it’ll all be written down in a handy reference document. You can print everything up in a nicely presented training manual – a job which can be outsourced to companies such as The Print Group.

It might also be relevant to your business to have things documented to meet health and safety requirements.

Finally, if there does come a day when you decide to sell your business, having training materials, or systems and procedures documented, will be very appealing to potential buyers. They can essentially walk in to the business and start where you left off – which will make your business a much more valuable prospect to purchase.

Do you have training materials? We’d love to know why or why not. Leave your answer in the comments below.

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This post brought to you by Revelian
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Years ago, while I was hunting for my first job out of university, I was submitted to a
battery of tests. I had no idea why these companies were asking me if I was the life of the party, or left things in odd places. But those tests were a required part of the recruitment process, and so I had to go with it.

Fast forward 20 years, I’m a business owner in a position to hire employees, and I now get it. These were psychometric tests – questionnaires backed by scientific method that accurately measure a person’s cognitive abilities and behavioural style. And they’re important because they show whether a candidate has the required personality and aptitude to succeed in a particular role.

Hiring personnel is a high-stakes decision for solopreneurs. Every cent is precious, any new person needs to really contribute to our profitability to make our spending on them worthwhile. If we mistakenly hire someone who’s just not a good fit, we have little time and resources to re-hire and re-train. So it makes sense to get the hiring decisions right the first time round.

The problem is, that’s easier said than done. Most of us small business owners are not HR specialists. We may never have interviewed, hired, or possibly even managed people, before. And, let’s face it, it’s all too easy for candidates to pad resumes or put together a wonderful portfolio of (other peoples’) work, using the endless resources of the web.

This is where psychometric tests can really help the small business owner. They give you instant access to hiring expertise, allowing you to measure traits – such as how well a person can solve problems, reason and absorb new information – in a way that you can’t assess through a resume or interview alone. Cognitive assessments take you past what your candidate thinks you want to hear, to provide you with real, un-fakeable results.

Conducting a detailed test might all sound a bit hard, but it’s actually incredibly simple.

You can get your potential employees to take tests online, through websites such as Revelian, which means the tests are easy and affordable to administer. It also means that you can quickly process larger numbers of people applying for a role – they can complete the assessment online, and you can use the results to very quickly hone in on a smaller group to interview.

The tests can even be fun – these companies also provide online game-based assessments. It’s like playing Candy Crush with a higher purpose.

Need more reasons as to why psychometric testing can be real boon for your business?

Firstly, the results will highlight a candidate’s particular strengths, which you’ll then be in a position to fully exploit, along with weaknesses that you can focus on as you train.

And secondly, you can take a test yourself to see what kind of person you are to work with. You can then think about the type of person that will complement your personality and abilities, and hire accordingly. Given that you’re likely to be working quite closely with your new hires, it makes sense to know all you can about them…and you.

What do you think? Would you use psychometric testing to hire your staff? Love to hear your comments below.

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finding the perfect handbagGuest blog written by Mieke Krijgsman, Smart Styling

We all love a good handbag. It’s in our genes!

Handbags are your wardrobe and outfit necessities. They complete your look, add a fashion statement and they’re practical.

Handbags are also a huge part of our every day lives, so making sure you select the right type for your lifestyle and personal style is crucial. A handbag is a great accessory to help express your individuality and style.

Here are some tips to take in consideration when looking for a new handbag;

  • Ask yourself some questions – what am I going to carry in it? Do I like a hand or shoulder bag? Do I need it for work?
  • Look at your body scale – if you have a petite body frame, a large or oversized bag will overpower you and make you look even more petite. If you have a tall / larger body frame, a small handbag will look out of proportion and make you look larger.
  • Think about compartments, size and how long you will be holding or wearing the handbag.
  • Buy the best quality you can afford for durability.
  • Have a look at closures, some styles offer more security than others. A wide opening makes it easier for you to find things and put things in.

What you really need in your wardrobe is a large weekender bag, an everyday handbag and an evening bag for nights out and you’re sorted! You don’t need 20 different hand bags – it’s such a waste and you’ll find you only use 1 or 2 all the time anyway.

Neutrals go a long way and will match a lot of outfits but making a statement with a bag can really lift your outfit to the next level.

Here are some great bags for women that are on the go, need to fit in paperwork or even some products to show at a meeting.

the perfect bag 1. Zara leather tote $190

2. Diana Ferrari handbag $90

3. Marcs revendable shopper $129

4. Strandbags cross over bag $111

5. Wayne Cooper structured tote $199

6. Leona Edminston large tote $139

7. Dome tote David Jones $130

8. Sashay many pouch tote $ 110

9. David Lawrence bowler bag $ 299

 

Don’t forget to regularly remove unnecessary items that weigh your handbag down to look after your neck and shoulders!

I hope you enjoyed this blog. If you have any questions about anything style related, please feel free to drop me a line!

Mieke xx

 

finding the perfect handbagMieke Krijgsman, Personal Stylist

Mieke Krijgsman is a Personal Stylist, her business Smart Styling provides styling tips for Mum-preneurs! “I love helping women find their own unique style. I’m a firm believer that dressing and shopping should be fun.”

 

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mentoringGuest post written by Natalia Walker, Inner Creative

Do you make your business decisions all on your own?

As a business owner the buck stops with us – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from the wisdom and experience of others as you weigh up your options and make your decision.

Big companies have a board of directors to help steer their ship and keep their CEO accountable. Even if you’re a small business of one, you can still adopt a ‘board of advisors model’ for yourself. (By the way, these ‘advisors’ do not replace seeking legal or other professional advice you need to run your business).

Getting a mentor or coach, or joining a mastermind or networking group (like Motivating Mum’s Businessmums’ Club) are common ways to get support and another perspective on issues that you face in your business. You can also take a less formal approach by having your own list of ‘go to people’ for business (as you would in your personal life, say when you want to bounce off issues you’re having about your kids’ sleep or lack of  :-)).

Now a warning – it’s not a bad thing to include your mum or friends, especially if they are successful savvy business entrepreneurs, in your informal board of advisors. However, if they’re not in the business world they might not always appreciate or be personally comfortable with taking some of the risks required to get your business and name out there. So while an outside business perspective is OK, make sure to balance it with other business-minded folks too.

But before you start stressing about joining up a whole lot of Facebook groups or formally approaching potential mentors, have you considered having a supplementary virtual advisory board? And I don’t mean using Skype or Facetime :-) . I’m talking about tapping into your creativity by creating a list of business leaders who inspire you but that you don’t necessarily know – aka an imaginary advisory board (to use in addition to people you do know). It’s quick and readily accessible at any time of day. Here’s how…

Select your ‘advisors’ – Who are the business leaders out there that you admire?

Select around 3 business leaders you admire. They don’t have to be business owners in the traditional sense –perhaps you admire Madonna for her constant reinvention, or how Oprah positioned herself as a unique brand despite her start as a news anchor?

Do some research – get to know your ‘advisors’ and their philosophy

Why do you admire your chosen business leaders?

- Is it the approach they took to setting up their business?\

- How they treat people around them?

- Their courage or determination?

Are there some clues about them and their philosophy that you can adopt in your own business :-) . Get to know more about your ‘advisors’, their values, and approaches as best you can (without stalking please ?). Read their bio or memoir, their business books or blog; follow them on social media; attend any of their live events or workshops. And who knows? One day you might be able to call your admired business leader a good friend or colleague, but in the meantime…

‘Consult’ your advisors whenever you need a different perspective on your business

When you have a tricky business decision it always pays to get another perspective. So you can Google search their views on a particular topic or refer to their book to find out what they did at a similar stage in their business. Bear in mind that there mightn’t be an exact answer to your question, for instance you won’t find much on Coco Chanel’s view on using social media.

This is where you take advantage of your brain’s computer-like desire to try to find an answer to everything. If you’ve done any amount of research, you’ll probably be able to make an educated guess about what your advisor’s take would be on your present situation.

Use your imagination. If they were standing in the room right next to you what can you imagine them telling you? Would they use a particular approach to work it out, e.g. journal or go for a walk? Would they want more information, e.g. more financials? Is there someone else they would also consult? By opening your mind to other possibilities, it might just spark off another idea of your own on how to solve your problem.

Check in on this different perspective

Seeking other’s perspectives is not about abdicating your responsibilities as a business owner or leader. So check out how you feel about this different perspective.

- Do you feel good about the new idea? Why? Why not?

- If you feel some level of discomfort about it? Why? Perhaps check the decision against your values to see where the discomfort lies? Does it just need a little tweak to feel more comfortable?

- Also listen to your body for cues, e.g. does it feel tight and constricted? Centered and at peace?

But in the end, no matter what anyone tells you (or you imagine them telling you) the buck does stop with you. Make the decision that resonates most with you and lets you sleep easy at night. Even if you’re not sure where your decision will take you, know that you’ve always got somewhere to go to for support and advice.

 

So have you set up a ‘board of advisors’ for your business? If not, who would you include in it? Please share your discoveries in the comments below.

 

mentoring

Natalia Walker, founder of Inner Creative, empowers entrepreneurs to unlock their creativity to create a business that’s more aligned with who they are and what they want.

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