Yes, even small businesses and SMEs have a need to mentor. Mentoring is a relationship that is formed between two individuals...one with more experience, more knowledge, and more expertise and one with less experience, less knowledge, and less expertise in a particular subject, profession, or position. Mentoring is not reserved for any one type of business, organization, job position, profession, or size of an entity.
Without adequate and continuous training and mentoring, employees cannot be expected to produce at the highest levels of performance. Medical doctors have internships and residencies. Associate lawyers train under experienced attorneys. CPAs, architects, and insurance professionals all receive guidance from more knowledgeable colleagues. Other professions do the same. There is a reason for this type of training and mentoring. It creates excellence.
Mentoring at any Level
While many might think that mentoring is only reserved for the very inexperienced, mentoring is knowledge transfer; therefore, it works at any level and in any situation. All employees benefit from mentoring as they grow with a business regardless of the size.
Entry-level employees certainly need mentoring. They should not be expected to step into a job with a minimal amount of training and become top-notch employees on their own. Perhaps this happens but the odds of success are far greater when there is continuous mentoring. Unfortunately, many businesses have a mentoring program for entry-level and new employees that is only short-term in duration. While this sets employees on the right course, it does little to help them learn the job better and prepare them to accept added responsibilities. With an effective mentoring program, employees increase their skills and, generally, become more loyal adding to a company’s forward momentum.
Managerial-level positions are no different than entry-level positions when it comes to gains that can be achieved through mentoring. Managers at any level still need to be mentored as their job functions and responsibilities change and increase. An ongoing debate has always been whether a leader is born or made. Regardless of one’s opinion, leaders and managers can still improve and become more effective with proper mentoring.
A first-time manager with little or no managerial experience needs mentoring in order to succeed. Likewise, the most experienced manager becoming a director or being elevated to a C-level position can still benefit with proper mentoring. There are different issues and situations at every level of management that have to be addressed in the best possible manner. Mentoring from an experienced manager is a great asset in this area.
Mentoring is a very powerful tool to enhance both personal and career development. When there is open communication and trust built between the mentor and mentee, a positive and enthusiastic atmosphere can develop. In addition to working on skill sets only needed for a particular position, a strong mentor can provide guidance, motivation, and moral support as well as being a role model. Experienced mentors can relate stories of when they were in similar positions and situations, and how their actions proved to be positive or negative at the time. This makes mentoring even more powerful when mentees understand that their tutors have been in the same place where they are now.
As a business owner, manager, or supervisor, implement some of the following tips in a mentoring program:
Approach each mentee as a unique individual using different guidance based on distinctive characteristics and experience.
Work together on common goals to be achieved.
Show real involvement and take a genuine interest in the mentee learning about the person, background, interests, etc.
Allow the mentee to make recommendations and discuss different approaches to a situation before giving advice.
Share previous experiences both good and bad.
Give praise when due, celebrate successes, and learn from failures and/or disappointing results.
Certainly, lead by example.
Efforts Have Rewards
A business can do nothing or very little to mentor employees and still grow and succeed. The same business, however, can put forth a little extra effort, develop an ongoing mentoring program, and reap big rewards.
How To Be A Great Boss
It’s pretty easy to be a bad boss but much more difficult to be a great boss. Being a bad boss takes no effort or thought. Contrary, being a great boss does take effort and thought. During any challenging time in business...a depressed economy, faltering sales, increased competition, or even a global pandemic...it is increasingly more important to be a great boss for employees looking for leadership, motivation, and moral support.
Great bosses display certain characteristics. Obviously, bad bosses display just the opposite. As a business owner or manager, review the below questions and answer “yes” or “no” to the following:
1. Do you give credit to employees?
Hopefully, the answer is yes; however, it could be that you take all the credit for yourself when something good happens or progress is made. A glaring characteristic of a bad boss is the one who takes credit for all good things happening in a business but is quick to blame employees when something bad happens. A great boss is quick to give credit when credit is due and willingly accepts responsibility when required.
2. Do you empower and trust employees?
Trust is a two-way street. Employees need to trust their bosses, but bosses equally need to trust their employees. Employees must feel empowered and know their bosses trust them to get the job done whatever their position might be. When training is completed, great bosses trust their employees with certain amounts of responsibility.
3. Do you take into consideration how much work your employees are doing?
As an owner or manager, you might be putting in more hours than any employee, but you must also take into consideration how much work each employee is doing. Without hard-working employees, a boss’ job would be even harder.
4. Do you equate salary to job performance and position?
It is always hoped that employees love their jobs, but they love compensation as well. A great boss takes into consideration an employee’s job performance and position when equating that to salary. Employees must be adequately compensated, so they are not constantly looking for another job or generally being dissatisfied with their current job.
5. Do you focus on the strengths of your employees?
Certainly, this is better than focusing on their weaknesses. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, but motivation comes from recognizing and encouraging all employees to use whatever strengths they have to the best of their abilities. While weaknesses can be improved upon, dwelling on an employee’s weaknesses does nothing to improve performance.
6. Do you carefully consider who is hired and who is promoted?
Often the hiring and promotion process is rushed and negative results are the end product. Great bosses take time in hiring the right individual for the right job (i.e., interviews, probing questions, references, testing) and promoting the right individual (i.e., previous job performance, skills, training, attitude) into a position with higher responsibilities.
7. Do you micromanage employees?
The opposite, of course, is giving employees the freedom to make their own decisions. While some employees do enjoy being micromanaged or actually do need to be micromanaged (perhaps a bad hiring decision), most employees enjoy a certain amount of freedom to perform their jobs without being micromanaged as long as they are accomplishing predetermined objectives.
8. Do you support employees if there are disputes with customers or vendors?
Employees need to know if their boss will “have their back” if the need arises assuming, of course, that the employee is clearly in the right should a dispute occur with a customer or vendor. Nothing is more embarrassing for an employee than when they are not backed by the boss. Perhaps, a dispute might take a bit of diplomacy on the part of the boss, but employees must know where they stand if an unpleasant situation occurs.
9. Do you provide guidance, issue clear directives, and establish well-defined objectives?
Employees need guidance, directives, and objectives on what is expected of them and their job performance. This cannot be left to guesswork. Great bosses do not shy away from providing guidance, direction, and objectives. If the boss cannot provide these things, employees operate in limbo not knowing exactly what to do or what not to do.
Are You A Great Boss?
Time, money, and effort are spent in the process of hiring and training employees. Unfortunately, this can all be wasted if employees are not motivated and content with their jobs. They either become disinterested or decide to leave. Whichever option is taken if an employee is not content has an overall negative effect on a business, its operations, sales, net profit, and other employees.
Whether a business has a couple of employees or hundreds of employees, bosses need to be great. They need to motivate, engage, lead, build relationships, and create a culture in which employees want to stay and contribute to the longevity and success of their employer.
If you answered the above questions, which category did you fit into...a great boss or a bad boss?
Email Campaigns To Help A Business Through A Pandemic
Email campaigns, sometimes referred to as nurturing campaigns, refer to the cultivation and growth of existing, potential, and/or prior prospects in order to create new opportunities and business growth. Although email campaigns have been around for a long time, utilizing proper email approaches during this current pandemic can prove to be a sustainable method of developing and converting connections to sales. Email campaigns allow a business to not only communicate with current and/or local customers but allows for connecting with potential customers and the expansion into untapped and underserved markets that might not even be in close proximity to the business’ main place of operations.
Email nurturing campaigns are not necessarily about selling any specific product or service. Instead, email nurturing campaigns allow a business to demonstrate to customers and prospects exactly what it does, expertise it has, and highlights the benefits it can provide to customers. These campaigns are designed to help a business communicate with valuable and high-quality customers and prospects. Whether a business is in the start-up stage or has been profitable and sustainable for years, email campaigns can target particular groups zeroing in on specific needs, problems, and expectations.
The following campaigns target three specific target groups to help a business develop engaging and successful email nurturing campaigns.
1. Existing Customer Follow-Up Campaign
The main goal of a customer follow-up email campaign is to keep existing customers engaged and ready to make repeat purchases when necessary. It is an opportunity for a business to offer information on both current and new products and services while at the same time keeping the lines of communication open ensuring complete customer satisfaction.
Ongoing customer support is a key element to keep a business’ name and brand in front of customers. Since competitors will always be striving to obtain new customers within the same marketplace, businesses must be proactive in engaging with its own customers. While well-crafted emails certainly allow for simple interaction between a business and its customers, they can also be used to upsell and cross-sell additional products and services adding to an already existing revenue stream.
2. New Prospects Campaign
Every day individuals and businesses are bombarded with countless emails and advertisements. Obviously, consumers and purchasers become adept at selectively choosing what they pay attention to. New prospects can be generated using a variety of methods, such as offering some type of free download, additional product or service information, discounts, special promotions, new hours, extended payment plans, or expanded delivery,
For this type of email campaign to be successful, the business must focus on creating content that will immediately peak the reader’s interest. This can be ensured with a strong call to action (CTA) in which readers start to engage as soon as an email is opened. Content must be direct, clear, and specific, so recipients are instantly aware of (1) how their email address was obtained (2) why they are receiving the email, and (3) how the offering product or service will benefit them or their business.
3. Re-engagement with Prior Customers and Prospects
In business, customers will always come and go for a variety of reasons. It might be a customer who once was interested in a product or service simply has a change of mind or something more complex in that needs and problems have changed. These prior customers and prior prospects are still valuable with potential buying power.
Although this group might not be producing current revenue, they possess the ability to do so in the future. With email programs, mail merge software, and CRM (customer relationship management) software, it is quite easy and inexpensive for a business to have regular email blasts to prior customers and prospects. Obtaining one or two new customers or orders can be well worth the time, effort, and cost involved.
Capture Their Interest
With so many emails received daily, getting noticed from the crowd is of utmost importance. Thus, an intriguing subject line must immediately capture the recipient’s interest. This might include something personal, a key phrase, or a special offer. The main objective is just to get the email opened. With the right content and incentives, a successful email nurturing campaign is achievable for any type of business.