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How To Start 2019 For Your Business

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2017 new year
2019 is knocking, are you ready? The new year is upon us, some may be celebrating another successful year with champagne, where others may be contemplating on the next strategy to implement for their business. As you figure out which side of the coin you're on, it’s best to understand the most effective approach you should take to make sure 2019 is not only better than 2019, but your best year yet.

Go Back To Basics in Business

To have a successful year, it starts with the basics. You need to feel secure and confident that the foundation you have set, will help you excel in the new year. Having that confidence in your system, finances, and administrative work will allow you the peace of mind to continue moving the needle forward in business.If entrepreneurship is in the cards for 2019 (or you're already an entrepreneur/business professional), then this is the time to look at the preparatory checklist and assess exactly where one stands. Here is how to start 2019, the right way.

Have the Right Mindset Day One

Forget all of the negativity that happened in 2019. It’s a new year and a completely new slate.

Review Your Financials

Check up on the leftover cushion money, but more importantly look at your bank statements or end of year review. If you're not already working with your accountant, be sure to give that individual a call to review what happened this year. To hit 2019 in stride, it’s critical to have your personal and business finances in check.

Check Up On Your Business Plan

A proper business plan has to be a blueprint to how you conduct and want to conduct business. Take the time to revise your business plan add or subtract items on that plan you feel do not make sense. Being diligent now will save a lot of unnecessary hassles later as you continue to expand/grow your company.

Select Your Team Members Wisely

Coming from experience, finding the proper talent to work for you is the hardest part of the business. Before making new hires, be sure you take the time to assess your teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Then hire those to fill the voids. Reviewing your business plan will be a tremendous help when making these evaluations.  If you hire right in 2019, you are already on your way to success in 2019!

Assess Your Risks

Finally, check on your insurance coverage. Review the existing risks and think about the new risks planned for 2019. A new home, a new car, addition of new properties, launching a new sector of your business, starting a new family, planning retirement – carefully plan and cover the risks with the adequate insurance. Consult with the experts to ensure the protection of your family, property, and business.

Personal Growth

As important as your business is, it’s equally important to get your mind right. Here are a few ways you can personally grow in 2019:

Prioritize Your Health

Sustaining a wellness plan for all 12 months of 2019 is tough, but rewarding. Do not let minor issues like back pain or soreness to affect your plan. Write down your goals for daily exercise and schedule an annual medical checkup. A healthy body works like a magnifying glass for the joys of life – zooming in on the positives and zooming out when negatives occur. Don’t get distracted and be sure to get your health corrected this year.

Declutter and Organize

Look through the space in your house, office, car, backyard and even phone and email inboxes. Clean up all the junk, sort the remaining in order. The time and effort put in to declutter and organize the stuff now will give a huge advantage on the upcoming year’s activities. Start it off with a fresh plate.

Treat Yourself

Don’t spend all of your time working in 2019.  Try to relax more by doing things you find fun.  Participate in social and cultural events that will expand your current limits. Make time to read books (both for business and pleasure), watch movies, or cater to a hobby. Plan ahead and make a wish list to cultivate some of the classics this year. If budget permits, go for a new wardrobe (maybe at least partially new) to start the year with a special zing!

Travel More

Plan for trips outside the scope of business in 2019. Go with friends and family or make it a solitary trip. But do visit a new place, experience a new cuisine, meet new people, even try to pick up a new language from the locals when traveling.  Going on a relaxing trip is one of the best modes of investing in yourself. Plan to make some memories and memoirs on the trip(s).

Make Time for Family and Friends

Finally, catch up with friends, attend a family get together events, meet up with cousins, and celebrate birthdays and anniversaries! Don’t get too occupied with work, career and the future ahead. Enjoy the present with the people you love. Family and friendships are not replaceable assets in one’s life – value them most and 2019 will be a great year! Have a great 2019!

Business

Ways To Deliver And Receive Negative Feedback

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Positive feedback is easy to give and receive. The problem arises when it is time for negative feedback. When people hear bad things about them, it is normal for the person to be defensive, angry, or insecure. Negative feedback is to be expected, because nobody is perfect and there are times when behavior needs to be corrected. No matter what the situation is, negative feedback should be given in a constructive manner. Here are some tips to consider if you have to give negative feedback and what to do if you are on the receiving end.

Delivery Is Key

Most managers take the sandwich approach to delivering negative feedback. They usually start off with the positive and then segue to the negative and bookend the whole thing with more positive feedback. The problem with this approach is that it is confusing. By bookending praises in the end, the employee might not know what the point of the conversation is, leading to confusion.To avoid this, the delivery of the negative feedback should be direct. Managers can start with something positive such as the value of the employee to the company. The next phase should lead towards the negative feedback. For example, "We noticed a decline in your production. We are wondering what the problem is and how we can support you.” After this, the conversation can turn towards support and coaching. Tell him how this behavior affects the organization and ask how you can help to avoid this in the future. It is also important to ask them the cause of the behavior so that everybody is aware and can take steps to avoid or correct it.For employees on the receiving end, feeling defensive or hurt is normal. However, being a team player is also important especially if you want to stay employed. The best way to handle negative feedback is to focus on constructive criticism. Remember that it is not personal and is about your work and how your behavior is affecting the team or company. It is best to focus on how you can change or correct the behavior and to work with managers to find solutions.

Ask For Time

Managers and employees both need time after negative feedback. Managers usually deliver negative feedback because the situation is fixable. Everything takes time to get fixed. Managers and employees cannot expect change overnight. In fact, this can be an ongoing process. As a project goes on for example, manages can have certain expectations from team members that can change over time. Employees are expected to adapt to these changes, so it is normal to expect frequent adjustments.Some employees might need time to test the validity of the feedback. Time outs like these can diffuse potentially heated exchanges. Both employee and manager should be respectful when time is needed. Employees can say "Thank you for your feedback. I will give it some thought and will get back to you." When managers feel that enough time has gone by, they can request a follow-up to demonstrate that enough time has been given. Respect should go both ways to preserve relationships in the business.Listening to negative feedback can be hard and so is giving it. However, negative feedback is needed so that behavior is corrected and events can go their proper course. Without negative feedback, there is no improvement and most of all, there is no way to move forward.
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Networking Tips That Will Get You Noticed

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Want to be successful at networking? Here are some tips to make you an effective marketer:

Be Genuine

People can tell when you’re being insincere or fake. If you want people to respond positively, be genuine and authentic so that you can build trust and confidence.

Clean Your Online Image

You might have less than respectful images on social media. As we all know, sites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn are just some of the first places people check when they meet somebody new. Conduct a simple search so that you will know what's out there. If people see it, they might think it's part of your brand.

Build Offline Relationships

Your offline life is just as important as the online one. Seek accreditation with professional organizations. You can also volunteer in your community to expand your network.

Make A Killer LinkedIn Profile

If you want professional relationships and network, LinkedIn is the website to do it. Complete your profile and connect with experts and leaders in your industry. Because it is a social network, it is a good way to meet people and connect with them in a "short cut" kind of way. Find a community that is relevant to your brand and network extensively to get noticed.

Set Networking Goals

In order to know if you’re succeeding at something, it has to be measured. To find out whether you are making progress networking, set realistic goals and conquer them. This is the only way to know if you're succeeding in your goal. If your goal is to reach 5 experts in your field within 1 year, then you should set a plan on how to do it. Targeting your goals will give you motivation to go on and give you perspective and reflection on how to reach it.

Share Your Passion

When you meet somebody new, sharing your passion is a good way to break the ice especially if you work within the same field. This is a good way not only to get your message across, but also to gain their insights.

Gratitude

In the course of networking, there will be people who will reach out to you in an effort to share or get to know you better. When this happens, do not forget to show your gratitude. You can say thank you verbally, by email, or by offering to pay for coffee. This way they will remember you in the future.

Follow Up

Maintain your relationships by saying hi or getting together every once in awhile. You can share new innovations, catch up, or just share experiences.

Give Back

Don’t forget to give back to your network. They might need you to mentor somebody or to speak about a certain topic. Always remember to pay it forward.

Become A Resource for Others

If you are known to be an expert in the field or when people turn to you for ideas or suggestions, you become a strong resource. This will keep you visible in your network.
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Foot Cardigan Taking Socks One Step Further

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Socks Foot Cardigan
Seeing packages in the mail is probably one of the most underrated and exciting things that happen to us in our digital world. You may know them as the guys on Shark Tank that ripped off their pants.
Foot Cardigan is a sock subscription that sends you random socks once a month. From holiday themed to socks covered in sushi, be sure to be surprised every time. Their fun, colorful Instagram feed is a small taste of what you will receive. We interviewed the founder of Foot Cardigan, Bryan Deluca, about how the company got to where they are today.Bryan Deluca Foot Cardigan

How did Foot Cardigan get started?

We fell in love with the subscription model after seeing that viral Dollar Shave Club video in 2012. Socks are a commodity so we knew we had a shot at having some success within the space if we came at it from a different angle, you know, like a subscription. Et voila!

Why socks?

The 'fun, crazy, fashion' sock trend was just getting going, so we kind of were at the right place at the right time. I had a little experience in sourcing so I was able to find our first factories and get that going. But I really loved the idea of taking this historically boring product, like a sock, and making buying/receiving it fun.

What makes your socks different from competitors?

Over the last four years, I think we've created our niche within the larger sock industry. Of course I think our product is as good or better than other brands out there, so when you're competing, you have to make sure there's just a quality standard there, or people won't buy your stuff. But beyond that, we've really separated ourselves with our design aesthetic. The words 'whimsical' and 'fun' are probably the most circulated within our design team. But really, it goes beyond the socks. It's the brand. The tone. It's unique to our industry.

Describe your subscription service.

Most people don't think about buying socks until they have to. They've got holes in their current ones, so now they've got to go to the store to buy new ones. It can be a hassle. But with Foot Cardigan, we give you something you need (socks), and we give you an experience you wouldn't expect for such an historically mundane product. You get a random pair of fun socks in your mailbox every month. You don't know what you're getting until you open the package. That's one of our customers' favorite things about us. We make the decision for them, and they get the surprise in their mailbox. No one gets fun mail anymore. And we're proof that people still crave it.team foot cardigan

Tell me about your team.

It's really a privilege to work with them every day. They work really hard and are really smart. About half our team is operations and customer service and the other half is marketing/web. It's a good blend of creative people. When I say creative, I don't mean just the designers. We need every position to be creative, with how we respond to customers and how we ship out socks.

Describe your company culture.

It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect from us. Meaning, if you've been to our site or received our socks and you walked into our office, it would make complete sense to you. A lot of laughing. A lot of energy. Whimsical decor. Every person on our team is empowered to do their jobs. And they're encouraged if they make mistakes, because when we make mistakes, we learn and get better. We love taking risks. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. We give our team the freedom to think about how to do things better, without the fear of judgement. That matters.

How has being on Shark Tank and HSN affected your business?

The've both been really great. Both are experiences that you never expect to happen, but when they do, you're kind of like 'WHAT?!?! Did that just happen?' But yeah, our business greatly benefited from both experiences.

Do you plan on expanding your product line?

I'm so excited about this. Over the last four years, we've launched four products. In the next 12 months, we have plans to launch almost double that. planets foot cardigan

What inspires you?

My family. They are my rock. My three-year old doesn't care that I was on Shark Tank and she doesn't care if I had a challenging day at work. She just wants daddy to cuddle her and play Candy Land. That's really refreshing for me. I thrive off seeing my friends succeed. I have a lot of friends in different industries that are so damn good at what they do. When they have victories, we celebrate, and when they fail, we cry. Being around people who challenge themselves to be the best they can at what they do. That gets me every time.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?

To soak in every single moment of this ride. I find moments every single day to be thankful. I often find myself saying 'I can't believe I GET to do this every day.' Because I'm not guaranteed this will last forever. So I'm going to enjoy it while I can. Tomorrow, the world could decide that socks are terrible inventions and we're going barefoot, and we'd be done. Unless we made socks that looked like people were barefoot....I'll be right back....

What are some obstacles you’ve come across?

Growth. While it's really exciting to be growing, it's also really challenging. 2/3 of our team have been here less than a year. We've had to create things like an organizational structure, training, etc. Navigating inventory management with our model can be tough, but we're getting there. Oh, and things like at the beginning when we had to figure out how to tell people to buy something that they didn't know was a thing. That was strange.foot-cardigan-food

What was the proudest moment for Foot Cardigan?

It had to be the first customer who bought a subscription that none of the co-founders knew. We went ballistic over the fact that someone who wasn't obligated as a friend or family member bought a subscription because they just loved the product. I'll never forget that.

What is some advice you can give to someone building their own startup?

Get over that fear of failure. I see that the most from people. They work on their thing for a couple years and it never sees the light of day. No one will ever care about your thing as much as you do. We had the idea and launched in 2.5 months. It wasn't the best first site, but it sold sock subscriptions. We tweaked it from there. So yeah, just get your thing out into the world. Don't waste time and money building something people don't want. The sooner you push it out there, the sooner you'll know if it's going to work or not. That's invaluable.
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