Wisely Choose Your Business Partners

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Becoming an entrepreneur offers special freedoms and opportunities that an individual can pursue on an individual basis. However, as a company grows, the option of hiring a business partner is often considered, and in many cases, necessary. While assistance in running a business may seem desirable and advantageous to the company, a partner should be carefully selected to ensure the best match for professional success; not anyone can succeed at this job.

Look for company-oriented compatibility

A partner should share the same degree of interest in the company as the owner, although their interests may vary. For example, one person may prefer the day-to-day operational tasks, while the other enjoys handling the creative side of things, such as marketing and community relations. If one person has only a casual interest, the other will probably be burdened with most of the work, which creates animosity.

Divide the duties

Write a company mission, strategic plan, or business plan to organize the operations and goals. Make sure it clearly spells out who is responsible for what. The plan should also specify how disagreements or conflicts will be handled. Profit-splitting and other financials should likewise be addressed. Never assume anything in running a company, and put everything in writing, updating as needed.

Keep it professional

Some experts recommend social activities with your business partner, and perhaps even taking vacations together. While this works for some individuals who knew each other before their joint business venture or who automatically get along perfectly, it can backfire. Spending too much time together could lead to relaxing the rules at work by allowing the partner to arrive late or leave early, or take a pay advance if that is not the usual practice. Some partners may expect perks or not fully understand how to conduct business professionally. While it is okay to have fun out of the office, be careful that it does not jeopardize company operations or the work environment.

Don’t expect perfection

If your business partner has less education or experience than you do, he or she may need some time to adapt to the job. Special training might be needed to get your partner up to speed. While you don’t want to necessarily relax the rules or lower your expectations, a degree of patience could be needed while your partner adjusts.

Have a back door

Agree up front on an exit strategy if the partnership doesn’t work out. Keep interactions amiable and respectful, no matter the outcome because you never know when you may have to work together again in the future. Make sure you have an agreement that protects you and your business, no matter what happens.

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What to Do if You Feel Exhausted Trying to Make a Difference

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If you are the leader of a non-profit, then you may discover that you feel like quitting on some days even though you are deeply committed to the organization’s goals. While burnout occurs in all organizations, over 75 percent of nonprofit executive directors say they have a plan to leave within the next five years. Instead of joining the line of executives looking for other employment, try making some beneficial changes within your organization.

Create a work and rest cycle

Research shows that employees become very ineffective after they have worked more than 50 hours in a workweek. Yet, many nonprofit employees regularly clock more than 70 hours in a week, which leads to burnout. Instead, limit the number of hours to six or less before you take an hour break. Insist that you will not work more than six days in a row. You need to lead by example, but make sure that those under you get the same benefit. Balancing life and work leads to happier employees who are more productive.

Leave time each day for items you wish to do

There is no doubt that the list of items demanding your attention is probably more than you will accomplish during the workday. Therefore, many executives find little time to reflect on the things they wish were happening. This leads to lack of direction within the organization. Create a special time and place each day that you can reflect on the items you wish to think about. Make this a top priority by finding a time and place you will not be interrupted, but where you’re comfortable.

Cultivate a healthy work environment

You, and many of your employees, may work far into the night on occasion. Yet, you expect everyone to be back at work the same time the next day. Doing this causes you and others to grumble about the demands of the job. Instead, provide flexible work schedules where people can trade late hours for time off during the day when they need to attend a child’s school event or just take time for themselves.

Create an open door environment

While your desk may be piled full of important things to accomplish, make employees your top priority by letting them know your office is always open for them to talk to you. When they choose to do so, make sure you are listening by giving them feedback. Splurge for lunch occasionally providing more time to listen. You can also host regular meetings where you listen to your employees’ concerns and ideas.

Set clear boundaries

You should set clear boundaries when it comes to your time. Let your employees know you will not answer an email or a phone call after a certain hour in the evening. Encourage them to do the same. This boundary gives you time to decompress and return to work refreshed the next day.

When you follow these tips you will be less likely to burnout. The best nonprofit leaders lead by example, so make sure you act the way you want your employees to behave.

How to Encourage Your Employees to Make a Difference

Nowadays, anyone has the ability to become charitable. There are online sites where any person can state a cause and easily raise money. If you run a business, you are rewarded for being charitable with tax incentives. Besides getting tax credits, you want to help the community and get your employees involved, too. Here are a few ways to get your employees interested in becoming philanthropists.

Host donation drives

Many businesses have ways of encouraging their customers to make charitable donations. At certain stores and restaurants, there are donation bins where people drop off coins or dollar bills. After customers make purchases, some cashiers ask if they want to donate to a certain charity.

Host a donation drive to get many more people involved. You can even direct them to other companies and organizations that are hosting drives. To show your sincerity in the cause, consider matching every donation made by an employee or customer.

Attend charity events together

Tell your employees about important charity events that are happening locally. Suggest that all of the staff attend an event together; however, do not force people to go or threaten to penalize them if they don’t attend. Get everyone informed about events that are being hosted regularly by your favorite charities.

Offer rewards

Employers are known to reward employees who work in their favor. Offer to reward whoever makes the most donations to a certain cause or organization. Common rewards made by employers are gifts, bonuses, and added vacation days. Encourage them to donate regularly and show more interest in helping members of the local community.

Explain the value of philanthropy

Explain the importance of philanthropy and why it is needed in society. People in need of food, shelter or care cannot always rely on the government, so they turn to nonprofit organizations for help. Some organizations are more useful at helping others than the government.

Show the results that come from helping others, such as increased graduation rates, lower crime rates, and improved living conditions. You also don’t need to be wealthy to be a philanthropist; anyone can assist those in need in some way. You do not always have to donate money – you can donate your time and skills to help others.

It’s important for businesses to donate to worthy causes. They are saving part of their hard-earned money to help people in need. As an employer, teach your employees they should participate in philanthropy as well. Get your business involved in every aspect and improve the community in which you work.

How Being Kind to Others is a Form of Philanthropy

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By definition philanthropy is the desire to improve the welfare of others. It comes from a Greek term, which translates to mean “love of mankind.” What is more kind than showing your love of mankind through helping out others?

Common philanthropic acts of kindness

Everyday, businessmen, churches, volunteer groups, and nonprofit organizations set out to identify individuals who are in need of assistance and then provide them with that assistance. The goal is to give the underdog a leg up in the hopes that the act of kindness elevates them into the role of a successful, well-adjusted, useful member of society. The acts of kindness are given with little or no expectation of repayment, and often these actions do exactly as intended—they elevate the receiver into a better position.

Some examples of these kind philanthropic acts include:

  • Sponsoring scholarships for underprivileged kids
  • Creating intern programs for retired senior citizens
  • Providing free daycare to single parents
  • Mentoring minority women entrepreneurs
  • Sponsoring a job fair for immigrant workers

What you can do

You do not need an organization behind you to do a kind philanthropic act. Anyone can become cognizant of need and make a concerted effort to fill that need, not because they want their efforts repaid, but because it is the right thing to do. The stay-at-home mother of three can volunteer to lead a Girl Scout Troop in an underprivileged neighborhood. A retired grandfather who gardens can take fresh vegetables to shut-in senior citizens or donate the goods to a women’s shelter. A teenage boy can see bullies cornering a younger boy and make it a point to be his protector. A family of four can make two Thanksgiving dinners and share one with a family who has recently lost a parent.

The ultimate goal

The goal is to see a need and fill it because you have a love of mankind. You truly want to see your fellow man succeed, and you have it within your power to help. The good news is many people naturally operate at that level, but even if you are not one of those people, you can train yourself to look for ways to give back.

It may take even more practice to give up the idea that the people you help should be thankful or owe you something for your kindness. Like any other love, your love of mankind must come with no strings attached to be a truly philanthropic act of kindness.

3 Ways to Utilize Content Marketing and Beat the Competition

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In today’s digital world, content marketing is something that every business with a website should be utilizing. If you don’t have a content marketing strategy, you’re going to fall behind your competitors in the search engines and miss driving a whole lot of traffic to your website. Here are three ways you can use content marketing on your website to stand out in a noisy internet-focused world.

#1. You must have a blog

Every business or entrepreneur who does business online should have a blog. Publishing content as blog posts is a good way to drive up your domain authority when you get inbound links, increase traffic to your website, humanize your brand, have more content to share on social media, build authority in your niche, and so much more. You will want to be sure to publish quality content to your blog that informs your readers and helps them solve problems they have without being too salesy or promotional.

#2. Connect with influencers

An influencer is someone who has a lot of influence over the people that might buy your services or products, and you can use the content you publish on your blog to directly connect with other influencers in your industry. One way of doing this is to write a helpful piece of content, and inside of that content, include a link to one or more of the influencers in your industry or niche. A few days to a week before you publish the post, you’ll want to contact said influencers and let them know that you wrote an article that links to them as a reference. Ask them if they’d like to take a look at it once it’s published. When the article is published, send them a link to the article.

Also, be sure to share the article on your social media channels and point out the fact that you used influencers as references by referring to their social media handle. All of this increases the likelihood that they will share your content with their audience, but if they don’t it will at least put you on their radar.

#3. Use your content to get leads

A very helpful piece of content, such as a how-to-guide or an ultimate list post, can be very useful to drive people to signing up for your email list or taking other actions that keep the two of you connected. These kinds of authoritative, extremely helpful posts will make people want more from you, and that’s exactly what you want them to want.

If you aren’t using content in your digital marketing strategy, you’re not going to see the results you’re hoping for. The tips in this article will get you headed in the right direction; the rest is up to you.

If You’re a True Leader, You’ll Recognize These 5 Leadership Styles

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Every business has its own leadership style that is determined by the organization, industry, and ultimately the leader of the company. Most companies operate on multiple levels of leadership, finding what works best for them and their workers. Here are five of the most common types of leadership styles.

Laissez Faire

Laissez faire is derived from French meaning “let (people) do (as they choose).” With this leadership style, employees are given freedom to perform how they wish with little to no interference. Leaders who choose to lead in this style promote trust in their workers and instill a higher sense of responsibility. While this seems like a great way to empower your employees, this leadership style also has its disadvantages. Without direct leadership, productivity tends to decrease along with the quality of work. If a worker doesn’t possess the right set of skills, the lack of leadership can hinder their work.

Authoritarian

The Authoritarian leadership style has one leader who has complete control over everyone underneath them. This is often the type leadership style implemented in a small business environment. With this type of leadership, there is a more streamlined work process and the decisions of the business are made more quickly due to the lack of layers in management. However, this leadership style often leads to low morale because of less contribution from everyone in the company about the decisions made that impact everyday work.

Democratic

This leadership style is quite the opposite of Authoritarian. The democratic style gives everyone in the organization a voice, leaving the ultimate decision up to the leader. Employees have higher morale due to feeling like they are included in the decision making process. Allowing everyone an opinion in the decision requires time, making time the only enemy of this leadership style. This type of leadership does not work well when a decision needs to be made quickly.

Transactional

The transactional style of leadership requires an exchange. As the leader, you let your workers know exactly what you expect from them. Should they meet this criterion and exceed your expectations, they will be given something in return, such as a bonus. However, if this expectation is not met, employees can be punished or will require additional training. This is a popular tactic in the world of business but should not be the only way to lead.

Transformational

This is one of the most empowering forms of leadership. Leaders who follow a transformational type of leadership expect the most from their workers. Expectations are set high enough that workers are constantly striving to achieve more, but not set too high where they feel like failures for falling short. These leaders focus on the big picture, which allows for the workers underneath them to take ownership of the smaller tasks required to achieve this goal.

Do you recognize some of these styles of leadership? What combination of styles has worked best for you?

A Philanthropy that Has Completely Changed the World

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The power of philanthropy is immense. You have the opportunity to totally change the world and sincerely make life better for others. When philanthropy is done correctly, it can provide help that is desperately needed and lead to the chance for growth and healing for people who need aid. One of the charities that has made the biggest difference is the Rotary Foundation. This philanthropy (along with its partners) has provided considerable aid around the world and receives a score of 97.87 on Charity Navigator. I’m going to go into more detail on how the Rotary Foundation has made a significant difference and improved people’s lives around the globe.

What is the Rotary Foundation?

The Rotary Foundation is the foundation of Rotary International, so the two organizations go hand-in-hand. Rotary International is primarily a service organization with clubs around the world. Its main goal is to bring top leaders around the world together in order to provide humanitarian services to those in need and promote general goodwill and peace, whether it’s for those who are struggling or in business practices. The organization is not directly affiliated with any political party or religion and invites anyone, regardless of their background, to join.

The Foundation was created to make Rotary International’s goals a reality. The organization solely receives funds from members of Rotary International or others who see fit to donate to the Foundation. This year marks the anniversary of 100 years since the Foundation was first begun in 1917.

What have they done?

The Rotary Foundation has various programs that it works on in order to help out people around the world. While their causes are numerous and they often help with other projects, the Foundation’s three main focuses are: polio eradication, humanitarian grants, and facilitating educational programs, often through grants and scholarships. These three causes are incredibly noteworthy and the Foundation has raised and used billions of dollars toward these projects. The Foundation has made exceptional progress in eradicating polio, vaccinating over 2.5 billion children around the world.

Within the last week, the Rotary Foundation has made significant contributions toward helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey. So far, United States Rotary chapters have raised thousands of dollars for hurricane aid in Texas and the number continues to rise. Rotary clubs around the world banded together to raise money to send to Texas, which shows the far-reaching influence Rotary International holds.

Who do they work with?

While the Rotary Foundation does plenty of incredible work on their own, they also partner with a few other organizations to help further their specific goals. Two of these other charities are the World Health Organization and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, both of which focus on improving healthcare around the world.

Philanthropy in Schools Solves the World’s Issues

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Philanthropy is the best way to create a brighter future and today’s children are the ones who will lead this charge. I’ve already talked about how important it is to teach your children about charity, but it’s also important that philanthropy is incorporated into schools. Between the approximate ages of 5 and 18, Kids spend the majority of their time in school. School takes up a huge amount of their time, so it’s the perfect place to practice and learn more about philanthropy. Here are some reasons why philanthropy should be incorporated in schools and how it can benefit children.

Teaches them to be compassionate

One of the biggest reasons students should be encouraged to learn about and participate in philanthropy at school is that it makes them more compassionate. When someone’s compassionate, it benefits all their interactions with other people and makes it much easier to relate to others. For students, this trait is vitally important when it comes to interacting with their classmates. There is often bullying in schools and some children have a difficult time getting along with others, but if they can learn more about compassion, you’ll see students form stronger relationships and less instances of bullying.

Creates more connections

In school, students generally have their specific friend groups and rarely branch out. Offering ways to participate in philanthropic activities can help students meet other members of their school and make new connections. Students also have an opportunity to meet the people their philanthropy is helping. However, one of the biggest connections students will make is finding quality role models. The adults who lead philanthropic efforts and teach students about charity can become their role models and help students learn about doing good.

Opportunity to be involved in something

Many students simply go through school without becoming involved in much, but if there are more philanthropic opportunities and students are required to participate in something, it gives them the opportunity to find something they love. When students are involved in activities, it helps them connect with other students, learn, and often feel better about themselves.

Makes them enjoy school

If a student feels excited about a charity event that the school is hosting, they are more likely to enjoy school. If the school organizes fun and interesting events to teach children about philanthropy or plans some kind of fundraiser, kids get really excited about something that lets them have fun. This way, students enjoy school more because they have something they’re looking forward to.

Students become more confident

Philanthropy can also help raise students’ self esteem. When children know they’re doing good and helping other people, it makes them feel good. Encouraging students to participate in philanthropy shows them that they can make a difference in the world.