Our consultancy is averaging $ 60k profit per month right now since COVID began – all without spending a dollar on ads. We’ve mapped out exact client acquisition process for you, including every lead generation channel we use + cost per lead per channel + lead volume per channel
Along the way, we experimented with a dozen different client acquisition strategies. Some worked great, some were a total waste of money, and some in-between.
I figure I’d write out my own experiences so that anyone here who is building somewhat of a similar business can avoid mistakes that we’ve made.
Important Note: We sell a high-ticket offer that ranges between $ 1k to $ 5k depending on the tier. The strategies I mention here are MUCH more suited if you’re in this ballpark as well. If you’re lower-ticket than this, there are probably other approaches that would work better.
Top Performing Channel: Facebook Organic
Organic Facebook lead generation has been our top performing channel. It makes up roughly 60% of our total lead flow.
The process has a few steps.
First, we optimized Facebook profile and aesthetic to clearly articulate the story and value prop. This means a total upgrade to your pictures and content on your wall, plus appropriate links to your external site and content.
Then, you joined Facebook groups that specifically had an audience similar to your ideal client profile. Facebook now has groups for almost every topic/theme out there on the market, even B2B groups. It’s a big misconception that Facebook is only B2C. We are entirely B2B and Facebook is our biggest money maker.
Once we were in these groups, the mission was to share QUALITY educational content. But just as importantly, NON-PROMOTION oriented content. The purpose here is NOT to sell yourself or your services. It’s purely to help that community with your knowledge.
We did this across 30+ groups consistently, every week. This led to a massive number of people DMing us, sending us friend requests, and engaging in the comments below.
This is how leads enter our funnel. From there, we can have a quick convo in the DM’s and soon after, move to either phone call and discovery/demo.
We are now getting those people inside our group, so it becomes fairly easy to get someone to also opt-in to a call because we’re constantly sharing even more helpful content, providing links to webinars, hosting giveaways, and running the community.
This strategy give us around 15 to 20 high-quality leads per week.
Our primary spend here are the few tools that we use to manage our content posting and Facebook group. Each month, these tools cost around $ 40.
We also have an assistant who manages a lot of the actual content sharing and DM conversations for us, and we pay them a few hundred per month.
Overall, our CPL here is around $ 5. Primarily, the expense is that it takes time to write great content and then managing follow up conversations.
Second Best Performing Channel: Linkedin Organic
Linkedin generates around 30% of our total lead flow.
Like Facebook, the first step is to optimize the Linkedin profile so that it resembles a sales/landing page rather than just a janky online resume..
But the cool difference between Linkedin and Facebook is that it’s way easier to proactively find your ideal customers on Linkedin.
The way we do this is we have subscriptions to both Apollo and Sales Navigator. Both tools help us utilize highly specific search criteria (company size, employee count, industry, job title, seniority, funding, miscellaneous keywords etc) so we can locate our exact decision makers.
Once we have a list of a few thousand quality contacts, we import it into our Linkedin automation tool. This enables us to connect with 75 new people on Linkedin every single day, using a multi-step campaign. Volume matters, after all, outreach is still a numbers game.
However, the important thing to know about Linkedin outreach copy is that it shouldn’t be overly salesy. Linkedin as a channel is great for outreach because it isn’t super saturated, but people there REALLY HATE getting pitched.
Instead, keep things conversational, friendly, and more dialogue oriented. Instead of setting your automation up so it’s pich after pitch after pitch, set it up so it’s curiosity and question driven. Aim to start a dialogue, and once the prospect replies, manually carry the conversation through to a point where it’s logical to suggest a meeting.
Good metrics to aim for is a 35% and up acceptance rate, 10% reply rate, and 5% meeting booking rate. Our best campaign has actually been 45%, 16%, and 10% respectively (on those above KPIs).
However, Linkedin doesn’t just end at outbound messaging.
Just like Facebook, it has an inbound, content-driven element as well.
In fact, it’s EASIER for your content to go viral organically on Linkedin, than on almost any other social media platform.
This is because Linkedin is still in its infancy when it comes to content sharing. Most people don’t do it. As well, Linkedin hasn’t really turned into a pay-to-play model yet, meaning you don’t have to spend money on ads in order to get eyeballs (Facebook and IG have already evolved into a heavily pay-to-play model).
So when you share epic content on Linkedin, share consistently at 3 to 4 times a week, and utilize some nifty behind-the-scenes Linkedin growth hacks to spike your content engagement (ie. capitalizing on the 1-hour algorithm spike, collaborating with other well-known influencers to borrow their reach, and many other hacks), you can actually have your content reach TENS OF THOUSANDS of people completely free.
This type of reach is really hard to get on Facebook, Instagram, and most other channels.
And by getting this reach, you’ll see your own follower count and inbound DM’s spike.
Linkedin generates us 7 to 12 high-quality sales demos per week.
Primary expense here are the two tools we use for Linkedin automation and list-building. Collectively, they cost around $ 150.
We also have our assistant helping here as well to handle the DMs and content engagement.
CPL for this channel is around $ 8. There is a time expense however when it comes to building lists and content creation. However, it’s not that significant.
Supplemental Channel: Referrals & Partnerships
Referrals and Partnerships make up 5% of our lead flow.
This is quite straightforward.
If you do good work for your customers, they’ll refer you to friends.
And sometimes, you can even incentivize your clients to make referrals to you by giving them a 10% finders fee.
Just make sure you only bring it up if that particular client enjoyed the experience with you. It’s pretty awkward to ask for referrals from a customer that didn’t see value from your services.
Just like podcasting, this has been a pretty passive strategy for us. We don’t proactively go and find referral partners. Usually, we just stumble on them at networking events, or during my outreach, or we’ll even get hit up by people wanting to collaborate.
However, if you want this to be a cornerstone strategy, you can proactively build a list of dream partners, and outreach to them explaining how a partnership can be mutually beneficial.
We usually give a 20% referral fee to dedicated referral partners to incentivize them.
We typically get 1 to 2 demos a week from referrals and partnerships.
The expense here is that we give 10% to 20% of closed revenue to the referral partner. However, it’s purely variable, so we can accept that.
It's critical to NEVER try to implement multiple new strategies simultaneously.
It's hard to make any new channel to work. You have to set it up, measure, iterate, etc…
We always try to crack the code on one channel first, and make it highly profitable and mostly automated before I move on to adding another channel.
Otherwise, you'll have multiple underperforming channels that you never truly get to work.
To Wrap It Up
We’ve tried over a dozen channels since we began our consultancy. These worked the best, bar none.
If you’re selling high-ticket and want to have absurdly high margins, these organic methods can be game-changing.
Try them out, and let me know how they go! If you have questions or thoughts, just leave them in the comments. I’m always open to networking and meeting you all. Cheers!
I have just founded a place where there will be the opportunity to regularly discuss business ideas, icluding startups, how and in what area it is best to implement them. There will be appearing really useful tools soon, and the participation is free.
On the Russian segment I already have about 920 members, and their number is constantly growing. I decided to start the same activities in the foreign segment because my goal is to create a truly universal community where everyone could share their unique experience, as well as learn something new. Since business is constantly changing (due to Covid, too), the expansion of networks is now truly important. So be free to establish new connections here!
Appreciate any feedback or content to be added in. First of all, you can write about yourself and introduce the niche you work in. Yes, you can! I'll be waiting for it.
Every new business I know dreams of building momentum in their business, where growth continues to increase, customers become your best advocates, and employee motivation is high. The most common approach I see to achieving this is to do more of everything for everyone. Unfortunately, with limited resources, this isn’t possible, and it frustrates customers and the team.
Based on my experience advising new entrepreneurs as well as more mature businesses, I recommend the following strategies for building business momentum, while still optimizing the limited resources of every small business:
- Find more customers that like what you do best. Fight the urge do more things, to attract more customers in a broader market. In reality, too many choices actually dilutes customer interest in your existing market, and makes your job of production, marketing, and support much more complex. Focus first on finding more of the right customers.
- Focus on the mainstream customer majority. New entrepreneurs, especially technical ones, are excited by early adopters, and tend to focus on their feedback, which will always suggest more product features and options. Ongoing momentum requires a move to mainstream, or even late adopters, who demand simplicity in your base function.
I’m sure it wasn’t early adopters who suggested that Amazon implement a simple “big red button” for a “one-click-buy,” but many experts now attribute huge online growth to this simplification for less tech-savvy customers. Most ecommerce sites highlight this feature.
- Select a single dimension to measure momentum. Your focus for momentum could be sales, profitability, or number of customers, but trying to keep all possible parameters growing is simply not practical. It’s important to define your growth strategy, document it, communicate it to your team, and align metrics and employee rewards to target goals.
- Build a strong employee culture focused on growth. One person can build a product, but it takes a dedicated team, with strong leadership, to build a business. Momentum requires a team culture of high motivation and engagement. These attributes require an effective employee feedback and reward system, as well as fostering collaboration.
For example, Mark McClain, cofounder and CEO of SailPoint Technologies, created an employee growth culture resulting in growth of forty percent a year, with more than $ 100 million in revenues. The company has since gone public, and is still a market leader.
- Plan a long-term strategy, and avoid crisis moves. In most companies, maintaining momentum requires the right strategic partners and acquisitions, in lieu of short-term price adjustments and special sales. That means you need to focus early on where you need to be in five years, and focus on strategic planning on a regular basis.
- Maximize key customer transaction efficiency. Momentum normally requires an ever-increasing volume of transactions, so you must make sure that key ones can be handled smoothly and quickly. Customers have no tolerance these days for multiple interactions, necessary support requests, poor customer service, or bureaucratic processes.
- Utilize outside expertise and mentoring. No matter how much energy, experience, and passion you have, there is always more you can learn from an Advisory Board of external experts or a mentor. Maintaining business momentum requires constant analysis and vigilance for market and technology changes, as well an internal focus on optimization.
- Track competition to stay ahead of copycats. Don’t wait for negative momentum to alert you to new competition – recovery is much more difficult than proactively making focused changes to retain customer loyalty and repeat business. Incremental changes are always easier to make and market to existing customers than disruptive products.
I’m sure that you have all seen how quickly business momentum can shift, as from MySpace to Facebook, or more recently in the explosive growth of Amazon and e-commerce compared to retail. Today’s customers quickly sense the growing momentum of specific businesses, or lack of it, via social media, online reviews, and texting with friends, and change their habits accordingly.
Thus you should never be complacent in your business about the growth you have achieved, or your loyal customer base. I urge you to practice the strategies outlined here both to build that initial business momentum, as well as to sustain it. Your long-term success and satisfaction depends on it.
*** First published on Inc.com on 12/22/2020 ***
Gone are the days when people used to try a lot and take time out from their tight work schedule to meet their day to day service requirements. Nowadays, they prefer to avail services hassle-free from the comfort of their homes. With the digital evolution, the on demand service applications came into the picture and helped people across the globe to get services right at the doorstep with just a single tap on the smartphone.
From hiring someone to repair home appliances to a beauty treatment at home, cleaning services, delivery services, etc, everything is possible with an on demand service application. Therefore, many people wish to have on demand service apps on their mobile phones to meet their daily requirements at ease.
As the on demand service app serves as the perfect space for getting the services easily and effectively, these apps have become an inevitable thing in the daily life of the people. So, the demand for these apps is increasing day by day. Seeing this immense growth of on demand apps, many entrepreneurs showed interest to plunge into the on demand business. But, all the proprietors who venture into this flourishing sector cannot taste success easily.
Are you one of those aspiring entrepreneurs striving hard to kick start your own on demand service business? Then, first and foremost, it is essential to understand the expectation of users on the on demand service platform. Then, get an apt on demand app development service. So that you can develop a feature-rich on demand app that satisfies your on-demand business concepts.
What is an On demand app development?
The On demand app development includes the entire process of building custom on demand apps. Only a prominent on demand app development company can provide you a best-in-class on demand app development service for building remarkable on demand apps.
Such a rigorously built on demand application can cover different sectors like home services, food and grocery delivery, pickup and delivery, laundry, medical services, beauty and salon, and so on. Users can obtain such services with just a few taps on mobile phones.
If you want to know more about on demand app development service, then continue reading the blog.
In this blog, we are going to see the challenges in building an on demand service app. We will be also seeing some successful on demand apps in the current market trend, some key factors to consider while picking an on demand app development service for your business.
Challenges in building on demand apps
As said earlier there are many on demand businesses that fail to amaze users. So, you must realize that it is not that easy to build a stunning on demand app that can completely satisfy user requirements. We can now see some challenges that on demand apps face in the current market trend.
Keeping up the pace with the customer needs
The on demand app can become a hit only when you fully know your target audience. You must also understand what they really want from your app and what they prefer. So that you can come up with an on demand app matching their expectations.
Also, it is significant to provide a safe and rich space for the users on your platform to get each and every service they need anytime. This is mainly because people will get attracted only to the credible on demand service platform with verified service providers. Thereby, they will gain confidence while booking professionals for their daily and essential service requirements. Therefore, an on demand service app should integrate beneficial technologies and security checks, understanding the prime need of the users on the on demand service platform.
User experience design
An on demand app with a bad UX design will make it complex for the users to book for services instead of providing a convenient space for the users. This will not only reduce the web traffic but will eventually halt the engagement of the users with that specific brand.
So, an on demand app can win customer’s hearts only when the app shows unmatchable performance with an intuitive user interface, flexible login, and checkout processes, etc
Cost of app development
One of the key challenges that almost all on demand businesses face is the development of a robust on demand app. This is primarily due to the cost associated with the on demand app development. A powerful on demand app is the one that is rigorously built and custom-designed, considering the main needs of the niche a business wish to run in. Therefore, as said earlier, one needs to approach a renowned on demand app development company to get a top-grade and cost-effective on demand app development service. And thereby, they can succeed in building an attention-grabbing on demand service app within the budget.
Competing on demand applications
The users of today expect a lot from the on demand apps and so if you still follow the traditional concepts in your on demand apps without any inclusion of trendy functions and features, you cannot shine in this flourishing sector. Also, nowadays, a lot of on demand apps are available in the market and so people have multiple choices to choose from. Only when you develop a unique on demand app with futuristic additions that stand out from the other typical on demand apps, you can gain a competitive edge in your on demand business.
Although there are some challenges that every entrepreneur might face while building on demand apps, there are some commercially successful on demand apps in this digital era. Let us see some of those on demand apps from which we can know how they gained widespread popularity among the users.
Popular on demand apps
Urbanclap is an all in one on demand service platform that connects users and the service providers / professional startups. This app can be used extensively for hiring experienced professionals for all home services such as car cleaning, sofa cleaning, plumbing, event services, home moving/shifting services, etc.
Here, users can search for appropriate service providers for their service needs based on budget, location, and so on. With a highly advanced match-making algorithm, this reliable on demand service platform allows the users to search for taskers in their nearby location matching their service requirements and who are available at the scheduled time.
For developing such a full-fledged on demand services app like Urbanclap, it will be really a smart move to go for a comprehensive Urbanclap clone solution that is built with the trendiest features and functions. A customizable and ready to use Urbanclap clone will support the addition of attractive features in addition to those available in the Urbanclap app
Airtasker is an on demand service app that serves as an ideal platform for those who are looking for trustworthy service providers for their everyday tasks and local service needs like home cleaning, car driving, electrician works, etc. It also acts as a perfect space for the taskers to get suitable tasks matching their focus area.
The app allows the users to post a job with the desired price, service description, and date. The service providers will then compete for the user jobs on the platform. So, the corresponding user will start to receive offers from taskers for their posted service needs.
In order to develop a complete on demand service app like Airtasker, you can go for a readymade and adaptable Airtasker clone solution. Do you want to include several futuristic functions in addition to the ones available in the Airtasker app? It is also possible with a versatile Airtasker clone solution.
Housejoy is one of the most promising on demand service apps that fulfills the local service needs of people such as home cleaning, appliance repairs, carpentry/plumbing/electrical services, interiors/construction services, and so on.
The users will get connected to the qualified and verified professionals for their service requirements. To build a feature-rich on demand service app like Housejoy within your budget and a short time frame, you should go for a remarkable Housejoy clone solution. With a meticulously built Housejoy clone solution, you can also develop an on demand service app for different on demand business models like on demand delivery app, on demand healthcare app, on demand transportation app, etc.
This on demand service application enables the users to search and book more suitable, professional taskers for all their day to day service needs without any hassles. Therefore, to say it on a whole, this app caters to all the on demand home service needs of users across the globe. It also provides a convenient and safe experience for the users on the platform.
If you are looking to build a fully-integrated Taskrabbit like app, you can go for a scalable Taskrabbit clone solution. Such a rigorously built Taskrabbit clone can also be utilized to build a full-featured on demand app for rendering services in different sectors like medical services, food and grocery delivery, etc.
From this section, I hope you can understand some successful on demand apps that impress users greatly by providing a suitable platform for satisfying their everyday tasks and services.
As said previously, a top-notch on demand app development service is essential for developing such impressive on demand apps for your business within your budget. There are some key factors to consider while hiring an on demand app development company so that you can get suitable on demand app development service for your business. Let us see those now.
Factors to consider for choosing a felicitous on demand app development company
Expertise in on demand app development process
When you really look for a top-grade on demand app development service, it is essential to pick an on demand app development company that has rich expertise in on demand app development service for many years. Such a promising on demand app development company will help you in arriving at a stunning on demand app that meets your on demand business concepts and requirements. They will also suggest implementing suitable functionalities, latest technologies, and trending features to kindle interest among the users on your on demand service platform.
Multi-platform app development
As a proprietor, you may wish to develop your on demand app across Android or iOS platform based on your on demand business model. So, the on demand app development company you choose must have an extensive working knowledge of both platforms and thereby can help you in building a remarkable on demand application across multiple platforms.
Adherence to deadline
The strict adherence to the project deadline is the key factor you need to consider before choosing an on demand app development company. Only the company that adheres to the timeline with the proper allocation of a skilled and dedicated team for the project will deliver your application on time.
Rigorous testing procedures
Only the on demand app that is subjected to strict testing steps will show unrivaled performance across various devices and will ensure a secure place for the users. Such an app can impress users within a very short span of time and can stand out from other normal on demand apps available in the market.
Therefore, approach an on demand app development company that implements careful testing steps to build a robust on demand application for your business.
Complete app support
Proper maintenance of an on demand app update is important. A professional on demand app development company will provide support for fixing the bugs, adding enthralling and futuristic features to engage users, and other app services whenever needed. So, reach an on demand app development company that will help you in updating and customizing your on demand app as required.
From the above sections, I hope you can now understand some successful on demand applications and the key points to keep in mind while choosing an on demand app development company for your business. But, you may come up with a question now. Where I can find such a prominent on demand app development company for building custom on demand apps? Appkodes is one such well-known on demand app development company that provides best-in-class on demand app development services for its clientele for years.
We use state-of-the-art technologies and highly advanced functions in the on demand app development process. So, you can arrive at a unique on demand app quickly and in a short time span by reaching Appkodes.
To say in a nutshell, building an outstanding on demand service app satisfying your on demand business requirements will be just a piece of cake when you reach Appkodes. So, get our best on demand app development service and set a footprint in the on demand service business.
The post Key factors and strategies to make your on demand service business thrive appeared first on Appkodes.
Every entrepreneur and most professionals wish there were more hours in a day to get their work done. These holidays, with all the new technology, including smartphones and social media, many are convinced that multi-tasking is the answer. Yet there is more and more evidence that jumping tasks on every alert for a new email, text, or phone call actually decreases overall productivity.
According to the classic book, “One Second Ahead,” by noted authority on training the mind, Rasmus Hougaard, there are some basic rules that can really help you manage your focus and awareness in all work activities. Practicing these will ensure greater productivity, less stress, more job satisfaction, and an improved overall sense of well-being.
The top two rules, which he calls mindfulness, include a singular focus for at least a few minutes on your current task, and limiting your distractions very strictly during this period. Don’t ever try to do two significant cognitive tasks at the same time, switching on a millisecond basis, or your attention will become fragmented and both will suffer.
Hougaard outlines eight mental strategies or habits that every entrepreneur needs to cultivate, to keep your mind clearer and calmer, and increase your overall productivity. I concur, based on my own extended career in business and mentoring entrepreneurs. Examples of companies already coaching their teams on these mental strategies include Google, Starbucks, AOL, and more:
- Mentally be fully present and engaged in the current task. Presence is foundational for focus and mindfulness. It means always paying full attention to the people, objects, and ideas around you. Practice by making a conscious decision to intentionally be more present with a team member, with a client, at a meeting, or at home.
- Deliver rational responses rather than impulsive reactions. This requires patience, or the ability to endure some discomfort and stay calm in the face of challenging situations. Patience is more concerned with larger goals, rather than temporary quick-fix solutions. Practice by stopping and taking a few breaths to calm down, before reacting.
- Choose to always give honest and constructive feedback. Show kindness. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Practice by incorporating kindness in every interaction with people, by showing attention, respect, understanding, and acceptance. You will improve everyone’s productivity, and make yourself happier as well.
- Approach every situation with a beginner’s mind. Without a beginner’s mind, what you have seen and done in the past, called habitual perception, can be problematic. It means you may not actually see today’s reality. Practice by overtly rejecting any habitual perceptions, and challenging yourself to be more curious in your day-to-day activities.
- Refrain from extended fighting with problems you can’t solve. Acceptance is the realization that every problem can’t be solved, and frustration or anger won’t resolve the issue. It will just make you less effective and less happy. Practice by choosing to move on, without carrying an inner battle, when you have exhausted all reasonable efforts.
- Balance your focus between instant gratification and discomfort work. Consciously identify the tasks that come easy to you, such as email and texting, versus tougher tasks, maybe including customer complaints or confronting coworkers. Practicing awareness of balance will lead to a change in your level of quick distraction and long-term avoidance.
- Proactively seek moments of joy throughout your day. Most of us are “always on,” always connected, and always running, all day. The key to cultivating joy is to anticipate at least some activities you enjoy daily. Many people find joy in just sitting still for a few minutes in quiet contemplation. Others find an occasion to smile or laugh every day.
- Consciously let go of heavy thoughts and distractions. Letting go is a simple but powerful mental strategy to clear your mind and refocus on the task at hand. Let go of a problem stuck in your head, or frequent distractions, such as a new email or text message. Practice by periodically relaxing and breathing to refocus your thoughts.
Without these mindfulness initiatives, most people will find their ability to focus at work declining. We all face the same information overload, increased pressure to move fast, and highly distracted work reality. Our attention is continuously under siege, leading to fewer results. Have you noticed an impact on your productivity, health, and happiness? Now may be the time to increase your focus.
Startup Professionals Musings
More than ever before, people want to buy from, work for, and invest in companies that matter. Whether you are an entrepreneur starting a new business, or a corporate executive seeking to revitalize a mature business, the challenge is the same – to become the obvious choice within the hearts and minds of your customers, your employees, and your chosen communities.
It is no longer enough to just have a great product or service. Your company and team members have to be seen as going above and beyond to solve the problems of internal and external customers. How to do this right is illustrated well in a classic book, “Matter: Move Beyond the Competition, Create More Value, and Become the Obvious Choice,” by Peter Sheahan and Julie Williamson, PhD. I can paraphrase their eight key recommendations here as follows:
- First define where you uniquely can add the most customer value. This is your edge of disruption, where your courage, capabilities, and optimism allow you to bring more value to key customer problems than any other company. Prioritize likely industry change and disruption over the next five years, and structure your business to lead the way.
- Assemble the best team to assimilate and design what is needed. Your company can’t be a leader without establishing an elevated perspective, based on realistic market needs, and demonstrating an ability to execute. These insights must come from tapping the right people inside and outside your organization, with real customer interaction.
- Be known for your expertise by broadly sharing the message. Every customer is looking for provocative thought leaders, such as Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, who are able to challenge the status quo with alternatives of substantive value. The willingness to share what you know even with potential competitors is critical for credibility and visibility.
- Seek out only the best potential partners and customer leaders. For real influence, you need to elevate your customer and partner relationships, focus on high-potential ones that meet your point of maximum value, and say no to others. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself in building the right relationships and eliminating misaligned behaviors.
- Build trusted and open partner relationships, with aligned incentives. This is engaging like you mean it, which is the only way to create mutually beneficial joint solutions to challenging problems. Start with a market segment that you need to understand more deeply, and invest in the success of your joint customers.
- Connect with the bigger picture of the market and society. Companies that matter focus beyond the buy/sell transaction view of the world. They recognize and contribute to the interconnectedness of all moving parts of the market as it evolves in real life. It’s about relationships, communication, thought leadership, and social value contribution.
- Be the disruptor, rather than a reactor and hindrance to change. It takes a degree of courage and commitment to convert perspective and relationships into impact. It requires that you lean into complexity to proactively align people, processes, and systems to deliver on new opportunities, often at the expense of current and comfortable ones.
- Live the role of a company that cares, aspiring to be one that matters. It is important to do work that inspires others to follow, that makes a difference, and contributes to more than your bottom line. Companies that matter take a long-term view, are extremely ambitious and optimistic about their future, and value the future of their customers.
If your company consistently finds ways to add more value and drive higher-order customer outcomes, it will become the obvious choice in your targeted markets. In addition, it will attract the best talent, the most customer loyalty, and provide greater personal satisfaction to you, the entrepreneur.
Thus it doesn’t matter whether your business is a startup or a mature operation, since the principles that make the difference don’t change with size. In fact, these principles are best implemented during the initial formative period of the business, rather than wait to be driven by a painful business transformation later. Too many businesses never survive the transition.
Here’s what psychologists implement to improve team cohesion and maximize productivity.
Leaders want more efficient workplaces, and founders are in the unique position to set the cultural tone of their organization.
When founders invest in their team, it results in greater cohesion, performance, and a more supportive atmosphere. Employees, too, benefit from an inclusive environment that uses cutting-edge psychological tools to empower each person to make a meaningful contribution to the group.
But it’s often not that easy.
Most founders fail to recognize that the culture of their company is created not just through their explicit communication and the values they promote, but also through unintentional messages employees receive as part of your team.
These subtle, unintended communications are often more difficult to manage and control than your handling of situations.
Here are eight psychological concepts and strategies that will address both the intended and unintended messages that establish culture.
1. Use positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement is a technique of operant conditioning, pioneered by psychologist B.F. Skinner.
He found that adding a rewarding stimulus after a rat produced a desired behavior taught the rat to repeat the desired action. He discovered that learning a new behavior is accelerated more through positive reinforcement than punishing mistakes.
In your work, this means prioritizing giving positive feedback to your employees and leadership team. Try identifying and rewarding behaviors that promote your organization’s growth and align with your values.
2. Cultivate a safe space.
An important part of organizational culture is making people feel safe and part of the group.
Investing time and money in multicultural trainings, even early in the building process, will prove its value through increased employee retention, decreased liability, and marketing yourself as a value-driven organization.
Learning more about other cultures (e.g., LGBTQ, race/ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status) will make more people feel comfortable in your environment, which will make them more productive and loyal to the organization as you scale.
3. Promote authenticity and feedback.
Authentic leadership results in more genuine relationships, which increases feedback and personal accountability.
When people get to work and then have to hide behind a masquerade, they are less likely to give critical feedback that’s needed for positive change and are less likely to be engaged in their work.
Instead, ask for feedback and give it regularly to employees — both for their positive behaviors and areas of growth.
As more individuals within the organization connect to their true selves within the context and overarching goals of the company, people will enjoy their work and become more invested in their personal and professional growth.
4. Open lines of communication.
The more you prioritize communication, the faster you will grow.
When employees feel like they have a voice and that their opinion matters to management, they are more inspired to provide their best effort.
Opening lines of communication and increasing transparency in decision-making processes helps transmit organizational values, goals, and philosophies.
Make sure your first few managers are exceptional at making employees feel valued.
5. Generate meaning through a cohesive narrative.
When employees feel like their work is meaningless, they slack off and count the number of minutes until they can close their laptops.
If you want to increase your bottom line, then increase productivity by helping employees generate meaning from their tasks.
Translate how their individual work is critical to the organization’s goals, and how their meaningful contribution will positively impact their life and the company’s progress.
Psychology tells us that the more we can create a sense of meaning, the more responsible we feel for being the author of our lives.
Empower your employees to write a story that fits into the organization’s narrative, so the entire group feels accountable for progress.
6. Implement mindfulness breaks.
Mindfulness isn’t just a hot topic, it can create a serious boost to productivity.
Instead of having the unrealistic expectations that people will sit in their desks all day and remain focused, take note of the psychology that informs us that humans now have shorter attention spans than goldfish.
We need to take short breaks throughout the day to re-set our attention, increase willpower, and improve concentration.
Encourage your employees to take mindfulness and exercise breaks throughout the day. Do this through explicit recommendations and, if you’re up for a challenge, by modeling this behavior so it truly takes hold of your company’s culture.
7. Listen and validate to help people feel heard.
Psychologists know that most people want to feel understood.
Much of the world invalidates personal experiences and leaves people feeling misunderstood. If you want optimal workplace performance, follow simple psychology and validate people’s experiences.
Empathize and convey that you respect their emotions and value their opinion prior to telling them that they are incorrect or are missing key information. First, listen and empathize, then redirect.
Living by those simple rules will improve your workplace cohesiveness and your personal relationships.
8. Practice what you preach.
Work with a startup therapist!
Connecting with a cofounder psychologist who is an expert in startup psychology is the best way to fast-track your awareness and enhance the culture of your company.
Regular conversations with an expert guiding you through exercises that increase your self-awareness and understanding of how your behavior impacts others leads to more effective decision-making and a culture based on lived rather than aspirational values.
Simple psychology works. Psychologists spend decades studying humans to understand their motivations and functions.
Instead of ignoring their efforts, start incorporating these simple psychological strategies so you can improve your company’s culture and continue growing into the organization you want to become.
8 Simple Strategies for Founders To Improve Startup Culture was originally published in Entrepreneur's Handbook on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
The infrastructure of any solid relationship is trust. While certainly true in every sphere of your life, it’s essential in the workplace. After all, it’s been found that employees working in high-trust environments have reported:
- 76% more engagement
- 74% less stress
- 70% more alignment with their companies’ purpose compared to employees in low-trust environments
- 50% higher productivity
Moreover, numerous studies have found that trust is critical to team success. And, this is most true as remote managers are struggling with trust issues during COVID-10. Thankfully, you can use the following 7 strategies to turn this around.
1. Mitigate your team’s stress.
According to author and leading trust expert Paul Zak, stress is one of the most forceful oxytocin inhibitors. Why’s that important? Well, oxytocin is the hormone that’s responsible for social and romantic bonding.
As such, this chemical is kind of important when building trust with your team. Specifically, it helps teams work and grow together. And that can completely transform the workplace for the better.
“In my research, I’ve found that building a culture of trust is what makes a meaningful difference,” wrote Zak. “Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, collaborate better with their colleagues, and stay with their employers longer than people working at low-trust companies.”
“They also suffer less chronic stress and are happier with their lives, and these factors fuel stronger performance,” he added. So, yeah. This just makes sense.
But how exactly can you reduce workplace stress?
For starters, stop micromanaging your team. Instead, grant autonomy by letting them work however and whenever they want. Since they’re currency WFH, this is key since it can make work-life integration easier — like juggling work and homeschooling their kids.
Additionally, make it a point to communicate with them regularly. Regardless if it’s a quick phone call, weekly Zoom check-in, or through Slack, this gives you a chance to acknowledge them or address any concerns.
What’s more, you should make yourself available so that you can provide guidance. For example, if they’re struggling with time management, which is a stressor that 46% of employees, then offer advice on how they can fix this problem.
You should also encourage them to take time off and be respectful of their boundaries. That means not bombarding them with messages when they’re off-the-clock. And give them access to mindfulness apps like Calm.
2. Serve up the feedback sandwich.
Giving credit where it’s due is a proven way to build trust in the workplace. In fact, a Globoforce study found that those who received recognition from their leaders recently were significantly more likely to trust them (82% vs. 48%).
Here’s the thing, though. Eventually, singing your team members praises loses meaning. Studies actually show that “negative” feedback (if delivered appropriately) is more helpful than positive reinforcement.
The reason? People want to learn and grow. And, they want to be challenged, not cuddled.
A simple way to achieve both types of feedback is using the sandwich method. Here you would deliver feedback as follows; positive, constructive, positive.
Why does this work? Because you’re kicking and ending things on a positive note. At the same time, you’re also delivering honest and constructive feedback.
3. Get to (virtually) know your team members.
The cornerstone of fortifying any relationship is getting to know the other person. And, by that, I mean getting to know them outside of the workplace. Even if that’s regularly meeting with them in person, it’s having frequent and informal chats with them via text, email, or scheduled “coffee” meetings through Zoom.
While you don’t want to cross any lines here, ask them how they’re doing. Inquire about their hobbies, passions, or how their family has been. It sounds simple. But, spending a couple of minutes each week getting to know each team member helps you bond over similar interests while showing that you genuinely care about them as a person.
4. Make sure that your goals, objectives, and intentions are crystal clear.
Not to be too crass here. But, this is leadership 101. Always make sure that you always do this from jump street.
For instance, let’s say that when a team member has completed their portion of a project, they must notify the project manager. That may not sound like a biggie, but what is the preferred channel here? If it’s through Slack, but they sent an email, that could cause bottlenecks and lots of ibuprofen for the headaches this caused.
In short, make sure that you share your goals, objectives, and intentions with your team. More importantly, double-check that they understand them so that you’re all on the same page.
5. Be competent but also vulnerable.
“Trust in leadership is also based on a leader’s demonstration of on-the-job expertise and ability,” writes executive coach Dina Denham Smith. “In virtual teams where people can feel disconnected, strong communication is an especially critical leadership skill, one on which your competence will be judged and trust built or diminished.”
While you certainly do not want to cause information overload, “there’s no such thing as over-communicating,” adds Denham Smith. After all, “if you don’t communicate frequently and clearly, your people will fill in the blanks with their own, usually worst-case, assumptions.” Additionally, you need to be open about your expectations and transparent “on company direction, policies, and procedures, including the decision-making process.”
At the same time, admit that you don’t have all the answers. You should even own-up to your mistakes. And, if you need help, ask for it.
“While it may seem counterintuitive, leaders who ask for help draw others to them through this display of humanness, inspire others by making them feel needed and garner trust and followers,” adds Denham Hill.
6. Freshen up your virtual events and meetings.
Even though virtual meetings have been around for years, they’ve become the status quo thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. While an adequate way to keep-in-touch and build rapport, they’re also exhausting. However, you can spruce them up to establish trust while also bolstering morale.
If you need some ideas, Calendar Co-Founder John Hall has the following suggestions:
- Get underway by acknowledging your team’s achievements or sharing a joke.
- Host theme events, like a holiday party or virtual lunches where participants share their favorite recipes.
- Conduct weekly check-ins to provide updates or ask how everyone is holding up.
- Always follow virtual meeting etiquette, like muting your mic when not speaking.
- Encourage silent brainstorming sessions.
- Organize virtual team-building activities such as fitness challenges or “happy hour.”
- Keep them engaged by challenging them. For example, you could ask how they’ve overcome a problem in the past.
- Shake things up occasionally, like surprising them by taking a virtual field trip or inviting a guest speaker.
- Schedule events when it’s best for your team. While you’ll never find the perfect time and date, you could poll them to see what works best for the majority.
- Wrap each function up on a high note. For instance, you could ask positive-direction questions like, “What did you find most valuable?”
7. Be consistent.
According to Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, there are three elements of trust; positive relationships, good judgment/expertise, and consistency. I think that you should have an idea about the first two. So, let’s go over what consistency means.
Consistency “is the extent to which leaders walk their talk and do what they say they will do,” they explain for HBR. “People rate a leader high in trust if they:
- Are a role model and set a good example.
- Walk the talk.
- Honor commitments and keep promises.
- Follow through on commitments.
- Are willing to go above and beyond what needs to be done.
While this may not be the most important element, it’s still essential. For example, let’s say that you penciled in a one-on-one for Thursday at 3 pm. You had a family emergency and didn’t let the team member know you had to reschedule.
Your team member arrives on time and patiently waits. After some time has passed, they email you, and you reply that you had to cancel. That’s not only disrespectful of their time; it also shows them that you can’t be trusted to hold-up your end of the bargain.
7 Leadership Strategies that Build Trust with Your Remote Team was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.
The post 7 Leadership Strategies that Build Trust with Your Remote Team appeared first on KillerStartups.