How to Start a Business With No Money

This a question commonly asked by those tired of their jobs and wanting out. The primary reason that they struggle with the question is that they are looking at it from the wrong angle. There are many forms of business that simply and sadly cannot be set up without money. In order to have a business you need to sell a product. If you have no money that greatly limits the product that you can sell of course but there is one product that does not cost you a penny and that is you. You are the product. You simply need to figure out what type of product you are, how you can market and advertise yourself and then you have yourself a shiny new business.

Now for those with exceptional talent or perhaps even a wealth of experience or qualifications establishing the type of product that you in fact are is relatively simple. But what if you are not an exceptionally talented individual like most of us are not and what if you are also not overly qualified or experienced in any particular area. You may think that you are lost and that setting up a business without funds is completely outside your grasp and the realms of realistic possibility.

This is however far from the cases. I will now outline how anybody with the slightest bit of intelligence can set up a small service orientated business without any education, qualifications or experience. The answer is simple, it’s the Internet, it comes in a box. You see the online world moves primarily on money and there are many businesses both large and small and they all require services. While all the bigger businesses demand a lot from those providing said services many do not and it is these businesses that your new business can provide services for.

Should you be interested in this idea, one of the key problems that people face when they are looking to establish a service orientated business online is exactly where to look and who to trust. There are endless sites promising diamonds and anyone with a little bit of sense knows that are they aren’t the paper that they are not even printed on. The best thing to do is simply to go to big name sites that act as an intermediary between those looking for services and those providing them. Sites that offer this service include Elance.com and Digital Point Forums.

In order to establish what the service that your business is capable of offering might be worth, you simply look through current and past sales. You may be tempted to try to be the cheapest but this will not really do you any good in the long term. Most employers are willing to the pay the going rate and if they are not they are probably not worth working for. Another thing to consider is that said good employers will generally stay away from incredibly low priced services as they assume that the service provided will be sub par. This is simply because it usually is, therefore offering a clearly labeled introductory discount of ten percent is okay but anything more is a mistake.

The other thing that good buyers shy away from however is those without experience and this is the second problem you will face if you are entirely new to the game. It is therefore necessary to provide examples of your work; this is an absolute key step to take. Nobody will hire somebody if they both have no experience and no example bodies of work. Therefore if you are offering something that has any form of end product be it an article, website or script, provide a link in your ad that can be followed to find examples. If the type of service you want to offer does not have any form of end product for example that of a virtual assistant than the only option you have is to accept payment after the work has been completed, together with a promise that if you don’t perform, they don’t have to pay for your service.

In conclusion, should you stick to the established sites, charge no more and no less than the going rate and get the first few buyers to see past your lack of feedback, you can indeed set up a business with no money whatsoever. It will take work of course, very hard work but you may end up finding that when you start another business in the future your concern will be how much it will make not how much it will cost to set up.

Planning An Effective HR Strategy

A couple of years ago there were many mistakes that could be made with impunity but sadly this is no longer the case. If you want your business to survive, you need to maximize both productivity and efficiency in your organization and one of the key places to do this is by maximizing the effectiveness of your human resource strategies. Your employees make or break your business and though the current financial climate is forcing many companies especially small ones to really think about their HR strategy, there are still three mistakes that are commonly made. Many overlook the following three points and you overlook them at your peril.

The first mistake is not fully understanding or perhaps accepting the importance of ensuring that the knowledge acquired by departing workers during their time at the organization does not leave with them. Many managers accept that some employees that are trained at the cost of the organization do not stay for as long as was hoped, this is natural of course and it is unavoidable. However knowledge that is acquired by workers during the course of time that they have taken on a role can be left in order to benefit those that are about to take over the job. While a certain amount of knowledge will always be passed on, to ensure that as much as possible is transferred requires that specific knowledge transfer policies and mechanisms are in place. The number of companies implementing such policies and mechanisms is rising daily and if you are not already, you really need to be one of them.

The second mistake that if often made is failing to take into account the importance of having at the company’s disposal a workforce that is spread evenly across multiple demographics. The baby boomer generation is set to retire in the near future and this adds new challenges to those tasked with designing effective human resource strategies. Setting aside for the moment the fact that having a large percentage of the workforce being from this generation leads to very high staffing costs, you need to consider how your company will continue to function should many key players choose to retire within a short period of time. While implementing knowledge transfer policies can minimize the effect, these alone are not enough. Put simply, you need to ensure that you currently have at least some young people in key roles throughout your organization.

The last mistake that I will outline is pretty simple to understand. An effective HR strategy needs to take into account the future predictions for the company. While no human resources manager worth his pay grade will ignore such predictions completely, many either pay too little or too much attention to such predictions. If too much faith is put in to such predictions, the company will not continue to function efficiently should said predictions not come to fruition. Many companies make this mistake and for small businesses in particular it can have very serious consequences. However at the same point, taking a “we’ll deal with it when it happens” approach is equally hazardous. It is important to find a balance. A company is in a far safer position if they have a workforce that can function effectively should future predictions come true or not. A company that will generate massive profits if the director’s strategy comes true but will make heavy losses if it does not is not a company that you want to own.

So in conclusion, if you are working in the human resources department of an organization, these three mistakes need to be avoided if you want to safeguard your company from the perils that the recession is currently threatening. And if you are the owner of a company and your human resources manager is currently making these mistakes, maybe you need to find a new human resources manager.

How To Build Your Organizational Skills

Success is based upon what you get done as opposed to how long you spend doing it. One of the primary keys to increasing your productivity is being organized. Organizational skills are incredibly easy to understand and implement and yet they have anenormous effect on just how much you get done each day. They are also one of the most common skills found missing in peoples day to day work practices. There is sadly no exact set of organizational skills that will suit everyone. We are after all, all a little bit messy in our own unique way. I have done considerable research however on the subject of self organisation and these are the four tips that I have found to be the most useful. Though simple, how many of them do you currently implement?

Sort out your working area

I admit that generally the more work I do during a work day, the more of a mess my desk looks afterwards. It is of course very easy for high up executives to have spotless desks as they’ve more than likely just spent their day twirling around in their fancy chairs all day. However a messy desk leads to things getting lost and when you are cursing and looking for things, you are not only not getting anything done but also getting stressed out and scaring your co-workers. Everything you need to work with on a daily basis should be easily accessible. And it may sound simple but I learned a couple of years ago that buying a hundred pens every now and then can be a simple yet fantastic investment.

Invest in a weekly schedule

Remember that if you are going to achieve certain things throughout the working week, knowing how and when you need to achieve them is essential. Many people just start the week with objectives and take them as they come, not only is this unorganized but also inefficient. Do not be afraid to even spend two hours per week on this schedule, the time saved will be far more than this.

Keep one schedule not ten

One of the first steps in becoming an organized person is of course to have a schedule like the one above that clearly states everywhere you need to be and what you need to do there each day. However just because a single schedule will make you more organized, that does not mean that three or four schedules should be made just to make sure. You need a single source that illustrates your entire schedule. This can be in the form of a calendar, a PDA, a notebook anything. The point is that it needs to be a single source, so that you can gain an overall picture of what you need to do in a single place. Having fifty different alarms set on your computer telling you that you need to be in different places at the same time is the exact opposite of being organised.

Start every day with a 5 point list

In a world of endless technological advancement, some of the simplest things remain the best. Yes the Stone Age invention of the list is actually more effective than any PDA. Five minutes in the morning writing out the five most important things that you need to do that day can be a very good way of not only getting them done but of preventing yourself doing all the other pointless things you do each day. If you every day you can achieve five important things, rather than completing parts of ten different things, you will be more productive.

Never multitask

I personally consider it nothing but a buzzword since I stopped doing it. Doing more than one things at a time always leads to you being unorganised, it also leads to stress. Simple fact is if you want to really keep track of what you are doing, you can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Therefore any schedule or list that you make to organise your activities, never include and item on either that is two separate things.

Becoming a Chef Without Formal Training

Well, the first step obviously is that you need to learn how to cook. Because of this having an interest in cooking can be a pretty big advantage. A good palette can be important but isn’t necessarily required. The primary characteristic is just that you love food and are passionate enough about it to take pride in the food that you create. Should you do this, finding some level of success as a chef is relatively straight forward. Unlike most career routes however, there are two decidedly different routes into the industry. Each offers advantages over the other and which is best is debatable as I will now outline.

Skip Culinary School and Start at the Bottom

The Advantages

Before culinary schools became such a common thing, the majority of chefs would simply learn their craft by working. Of course without going to culinary school, you do need to start at the bottom but it means that straight away you are getting hands on experience of the pressures and fast pace of working behind closed doors in a restaurant.

This experience can be a better thing to have on a resume than completion of culinary school, as somebody that owns a restaurant will see that you can handle the pressure of a kitchen as opposed to somebody with a fancy qualification but no experience. There is also the rather massive advantage that you start getting paid immediately and you avoid expensive culinary school tuition fees.

The Disadvantages

The primary problem with this route is that the purpose of the kitchen is to prepare fine meals for the customers. The head chef has this as his primary concern and teaching you all about the dishes, why they work and their history is unlikely to be something that he has time for. As a result of this, you miss out on all of this type of information which you would have learned at culinary school. There is also the fact that you obviously start a lot lower both responsibility and pay wise than if you had chosen culinary school, of course you also start a lot younger.

Go to Culinary School

The Advantages

As mentioned in the disadvantage of on the job training there is truly a wealth of knowledge that can be obtained by going to culinary school. Provided effort is put in and a lot of people don’t put in this effort, you can learn all about not only what dishes taste good but why, as well where the dishes originated and the various techniques that can be used to cook them For example, a head chef will show you to cook something well, but he is not going to show you five different ways of doing it.

The subjects studied will obviously depend on both the culinary school that you choose and the specific courses but most include additional subjects such as nutrition, pastry and management, all things that you are unlikely to learn with on the job training. There is also the fact that while you won’t quite experience working in a real kitchen you will gain important experience of working as part of a team. Then obviously there is the primary advantage that you come out of it with a qualification. The fact that everyone gets to eat what they cook during their lunch breaks could be considered either an advantage or a disadvantage depending upon how far through the course you are.

The Disadvantages

The primary problem with culinary school is that everything that you are learning is theoretical. While the knowledge acquired is important, it is unlikely to impress a restaurant owner as much as practical experience as it does not at all demonstrate that you are capable of handling the stressful kitchen environment of a busy restaurant complete with a screaming chef. Another reason that culinary school is not as respected as on the job training is that there is an unfortunately high number of students who love culinary school only to go on to quit chefing when they realise that they cannot handle the pressure.

There is also the matter of cost. Not only are you not getting paid as you are going through culinary school unlike on the job training, the cost of the courses can also be pretty expensive. There are also a lot of extras such as books and cooking tools. Therefore your bank account will be in a completely different state upon completion than had you just started working at a restaurant.

How to Start an Internet Business in 5 Steps

There are multiple different ways in which you go about setting up an Internet business. Which you choose will of course depend largely upon both the type of business you wish to create and the funds that you have at your disposal when you start. As I have written other articles for this site based on what types of business there are, I will not go into that in too much detail. Instead for the purposes of this explanation, I will assume that you have a particular product that you wish to sell and you wish to do so online. I will now outline the steps that are required.

The first thing you are going to need of course is a website. And before you can build your website you are going to need a name it. There are many avenues of thought upon how to choose the best domain name and they are too complex to go into here. The main things that you need to know are that it should be easy to remember and it should give a reasonable enough explanation as to what the site does.

The next thing that you need to do is design the site. Your options here are very much dependent on both your own knowledge of design and again the funds that you have at your disposal. Research has proven that consumers like to buy things off of shiny sites therefore if you have the funds, it can be a good idea to get yourself a professionally designed site and logo. At the same point however, when setting up any form of new venture digging yourself a mountain of debts that have to be paid off before a profit is turned is never exactly a good thing, therefore if funds are low or the future profitability of the site is unsure, try to invest as little as possible at this stage.

Once you have a website that can sell your goods, the next step of course is to get people to go to it. After all you can have the smartest site in the world with the perfect product, if nobody is aware of it, its not going to make you very much money. There are various means available online through which you can advertise your site and its product to potential customers. The first of course is to pay for your site to be advertised. On of the most popular means of course is pay per click advertising the most popular of which is Ad words; this is of course offered by Google.

The idea here is that Google places ads on both its search results and on other sites related to your product (it pays commission to the owners of those sites). Then for each person that clicks on one of those ads and goes to your site, you pay Google an already agreed amount. This is agreed upon by many to be the easiest means of getting visitors to your site, a fact proven by the fact that both small businesses and conglomerates use the system to get customers to their site.

So you know have a website that sells your products and people that are visiting said site with an interest in your type of product. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether they actually want to buy from you. Now is probably a bad time to mention that 75 percent of all small businesses fail during their first year. However one of the great things about setting up an online business is that they can be done for minimal financial investment. Provided like I said at the start of the articles you keep your costs down, there is nothing wrong with a little initial failure. If the road was straightforward, there would be far more traffic.

Human Resource Management – An Overview

During the current financial climate, motivated staff are those that trust their organization to see them through the storm and therefore employee manager relations are more important than ever. If your human resources department is not proactively promoting positive feelings in this area, you will witness low employee morale and corresponding declines in both productivity and profits. There have been entire books written on exactly how to promote employee/employer relations and yet there are still some mistakes that a great number of organizations continue to make which I will now outline.

The original plan was a power point presentation, but then I decided against it due to the explanations required.

Endless Hierarchies

Many managers are of the belief that if level three workers are not doing their jobs properly, the answer is to create level four and onwards to infinity. Each level added puts an additional barrier between those at the bottom and those at the top and the further those at the bottom feel they are from the top the less incentive they have to trust them. It also greatly increases the difficulty involved in getting any form of communication between both parties including innovation which is likely to be stamped out at some level

Requests for input that are never put to use

I have already written in another post on this site just how important it is to involve employees in decisions. It not only leads to morale improvement but can also lead to a surprising amount of employee generated process innovations. What does not however lead to employee morale improving is creating a big song and dance about asking for their opinion and then not using any of the suggestions made.

Poor Conflict Management

There are two variations upon this mistake and each are just as damaging to employee morale. The first is obviously when conflicts are ignored in the belief that they will just go away on their own. Conflicts need to be handled and they especially need to be handled when one of the parties involved makes a complaint. Some company’s take a “boys will be boys” attitude to conflict and the result is a tense workplace and simmering resentments that go on indefinitely. An equally bad approach however is referring every single dispute. Some conflicts are born simply out of employees speaking their mind and having differing opinions. Organizations in which the slightest conflict is immediately mediated results in a significant drop in both morale and innovation. The point is that large conflicts cannot be ignored whereas smaller constructive conflicts need to be allowed to take place. Finding this balance is essential.

Poor or No Performance Management

The performance of each employee working for you must be monitored and subsequently rewarded in a consistent and documented manor. If an organization does not have a performance management system that offers explanation as to why some employees are promoted and others are not, problems will be encountered in the long term. Consider that a single employee out of a group of five in the same position is chosen for promotion. If you do not have a performance management system that is understood by all, the first problem is that morale will go down as no explanation is offered to the other four employees as to why the first employee was promoted and not them. This is a large problem in itself but when one employee begins to use the word discrimination as the unknown motive, you really will have a problem. An effective performance management system rules out the possibility of such a potentially damaging system.

Treat everything like it’s a priority/emergency

You really would be surprised just how common this sort of attitude is. The general idea is that everything that needs to be done is urgent and of grave importance. Every deadline must be met, each report hand delivered. Some managers actually believe that such behavior leads to increased productivity. Its fact however is the complete opposite as it generally just leads to employees believing that there are no real priorities, not bothering to work harder when there actually is an emergency and slowly adopting the view that management generally cannot be trusted.

In conclusion, these are the five most common mistakes that are made by management when it comes to employee/employer relations. These are frequently made in both small and large companies and they offer no advantage to either the workforce or management. Should your company be exhibiting even two of them, you may have a lot of thinking to do.

Tackling Competency Based Questions

The dreaded competency based category of interview questions can leave any confident job candidate a little nervous yet just like all other forms of interview questions the answer is simple, it’s all about preparation. Provided you adequately prepare for them by understanding why they are asked and which ones are most likely to come up, you can easily provide answers that will impress any interviewer. I will start by outlining exactly what competency based interview questions are and why you are being asked them.

What are Competency Questions?

Competency questions are as the name suggests questions that test your competency for specific aspects of the job that you are applying for. They essentially test whether you tick the correct boxes personality wise for example do you have the required leadership, decision making, problem solving skills to handle the specific role, well do you?

Why are Competency Based Questions Asked?

Competency based questions are used as they are the fastest means of establishing the suitability of a particular candidate for a given position. Supposing there are ten candidates for a position and all are being given interviews that will not last longer than an hour. All candidates are equal on paper and all claim that they are perfect for the job.

Establishing which candidate to choose based upon a one hour conversation where all candidates are attempting to say what they think the interviewer wants to hear is obviously a pretty difficult task. Competency based questions are a fair way of comparing the abilities of each candidate and they are also pretty difficult to fake compared to many more traditional interview questions. They are therefore a favorite for resolving this situation.

How should you go about answering Competency Based Questions?

Competency based questions require the same thing as all interview questions and that is simply adequate preparation. These questions are designed to assess your competency in key areas so the first thing that you need to do is make a list of the key areas that apply within the role you are hoping to get. You just need to ask what are the key competencies that they will want to find present in the successful candidate.

Once you have your list, list possible questions that could come up that would test these competencies and then practice answering them. Aside from just staring blankly at the interviewer, one of the biggest mistakes when it comes to competency based questions is been overly general and not illustrating specific events. One of the most suitable techniques for avoiding this is the STAR technique, which I will now outline.

The STAR technique

Competency based questions have a tendency to make people rant and generalize and talk a lot without really saying a whole lot of anything, let alone what the interviewer actually wants to hear. Interviewers do not want to hear that you are a great leader; they want to know of specific instances in which you unquestionably demonstrated that attribute. One good means of ensuring that you provide exactly that is to stick to the STAR technique. It is very simple and essentially just involves you structuring your answer in the form of a situation, a task, an action and a subsequent result.

The situation is the background to the task. For example, you were appointed to project X and it was a challenging project for specific reasons, again be specific, do not generalize. The task will then involve a specific responsibility that you were given within the project, the result of which should be verifiable. For example, you had to keep the project within a specific budget. You then outline the actions that you took to fulfill this task, keeping in mind that the actions taken need to demonstrate your competency within a key area. You then finish your answer by outlining the result. Obviously if you intend on getting the job that you are applying for, the result was a positive one.

6 Ways To Boost Productivity Levels

Many people like to keep themselves busy; it seems to be the perfect excuse to not get a whole lot done each day. While there are many jobs that, such an attitude will continue to get you paid, there are very few where it will lead to you progressing up the career ladder. And if you happen to be in self employment or working on any sort of freelance basis, then you are wasting nobodies time but your own. Here are my top six ways to improve your productivity while working plus one way to be more productive in your regular life.

Remove Distractions

Distractions are one of the key killers of productivity levels. From background noise to constant interruptions, if you wish to really increase your productivity levels you need a space where you are free to work. If you are required to work in a noise environment, where ear plugs. If you are required to work around co workers, inform them that you do not like being interrupted. If you are able to do any part of your job at home, set up a small working area where you can have some peace and quite.

Remove non productive activities

There are many things that we do on a daily basis that keep us busy but don’t actually involve us getting anything of value done. Take a note of the ten activities that you do most often throughout your working week and assess which of them actually leads to results. One of the best examples is starting each day by checking your emails. Spam actually doesn’t waste as much time as you would think. The main killer is regular enquiries from co workers and customers that do not benefit you. There is a delete button for a reason.

Timing

Do you ever notice that you are particularly productive at a certain time of the day? This is not in fact your imagination; it is very common to be better at certain things at certain times. Figure out when you get the most done and then do the things that are most time consuming at those times. If you find yourself tired in the evenings do the activities that require the least thought at this time and vice versa.

Eat, sleep and take breaks

Many people think that by sleeping a little less and taking shorter breaks they will get more done, this could not be further from the truth. You need a good nights sleep to be at your best and without adequate breaks your mind simply will not function as effectively as it could. An extra hour in bed and an extra five minutes for your lunch can actually be highly beneficial as well as reducing the risk of you having a heart attack from rushing around all the time.

Do one thing at a time

Multi tasking is a word that people love to throw about the place and brag about but there is actually plenty of research out there that illustrates that people get far less done when they actually do it. Simply concentrate on a single task at a time, complete it and then move on. Constantly bouncing from one thing to another generally provides a lot of room for procrastination and it greatly reduces your ability to effectively concentrate on what you are doing.

Stay off the Internet.

Almost all jobs nowadays involve the use of a computer. And while computers allow tasks to be performed highly efficiently, they also offer endless ways to be distracted. Simply browsing the internet for a couple of minutes isn’t a big deal until you realise you are doing it about ten times a day. Therefore if you have work to do that doesn’t actually require being online, try to do it on a computer that isn’t connected.

Productivity Levels Outside of Work: Do everything in Bulk

Though the financial incentive may not be there, increasing your productivity levels outside of work can leave you with far more time to do what you actually enjoy. One of the easiest ways to free up more of your time is to shop, bank and cook in bulk. Do all of your shopping and banking for each week in a single trip and this will greatly reduce the amount of time you spend queuing and driving about the place. Remember that cooking five meals often requires pretty much the same effort as cooking one.

The Importance of Time Management

Any exam sat is taken against the clock and the majority of work undertaken throughout our lives is only valuable if completed within a deadline. Sadly if you cannot adequately manage your time, you will never get anywhere in life. Many people assume that the key is to increase the amount of time that you spend working but this is in fact not the case at all. Effective time management involves managing exactly what you do with your time so that the limited time available to you allows you to meet and even exceed all your goals. Here are the most important things to remember.

Set a goal for each item in your schedule

Of course the first aspect of time management is ensuring that you have an exact schedule and you stick to it. However, that schedule is useless unless goals are set for each item. You can stay busy all day following a schedule without getting anything done. Therefore each item on your schedule should contain not only a specific time frame but also a particular objective to be achieved within it.

Set a priority for each item in your schedule

It doesn’t matter how good you are at managing your time, you are only human and therefore you will make mistakes and things will occasionally take longer than expected. The key here is not to try to avoid this happening but instead take measures to ensure that its occurrence has the least consequence possible. Therefore set a priority level for all activities within your schedule based upon how important it is that each gets done i.e. how negative the impact is should it not get done. Then simply ensure that your schedule involves achieving the most important objectives first.

Never Procrastinate.

One of the biggest problems with the above step is that you will often find that the highest priority objectives are those that happen to be the most difficult to do. This obviously leads to a very large urge to procrastinate and leave it them until the end of your day. However if you are to effectively manage your time you must never procrastinate. It is a very easy habit to pick up and many people remain hopeless procrastinators for large portions of their life.

Simple rule is that if something has a priority and it can be done now, do it now. Putting things off until later does indeed make now a hell of a lot easier but the same work will still have to be done later and the only difference is that it will be done under pressure as the deadline is closer. Not only that but it will also often lead to that deadline being missed. Avoid procrastination at all costs.

Stay asleep

While living an effectively time managed existence is unlikely to involve getting up at midday, it is also unlikely to be based around four hours of sleep per night. Many people attempt to add a few hours to their day by sleeping less however there is no genuine benefit to this. Gaining additional hours is of no use whatsoever if the result is decreased productivity throughout all hours. We all require different amounts of sleep in order to function, this is a proven fact. If your productivity levels decrease when you get less than eight hours, make sure you get those eight hours.

Take regular breaks

This is another big mistake that people make. In order to maximize the amount of time they have to work, they do not set aside enough time just to relax. Humans cannot continuously concentrate for hours on end without a break. You will just end up daydreaming if you try to work for even five hours straight. Take regular scheduled breaks. Experiment with taking five minutes off every hour. You may find that those five minutes increases the productivity of the other fifty-five by quite a lot.

So in conclusion, my essential point that effective time management is not about increasing the amount of time that you have to work, rather it is about organizing your activities in such a way that you can get what needs to be done, done in the limited time available. Remember you are not a robot and those with effective time management can meet deadlines without acting like one. It is not about buying more time, it’s about being careful about how you spend the time that you have.

Monitor Employee Productivity – The Basics

Monitoring employee productivity is very important. In businesses, general managers, department heads and supervisors are the ones who need to fulfill this role. Though most people think that getting into a position like this would mean more perks and salary;  think again. It would also mean tougher and more challenging responsibilities.

Managers and other high-ranking officers in businesses find it so much easier to manage inventories, facilities, books and even profit margins. The most stressful part of the job would be managing the behavior as well as the performance of their employees. If you have kids, you’ll be able to get the jist of what I am talking. It’s more of like telling your 8-year old not to eat too much candy and find lots of it stashed underneath his bed. Of course, you can’t expect all your employees to just do what you ask them to do. You’re dealing with different people so it’s only safe to assume that not all people are conformists. What you need to do is to understand why they are behaving or acting that way.

Why don’t they perform?

Studies show that there are two general reasons why employees are not doing well on their productivity. It is either they can’t do the job or they don’t want to do it. That’s just it. So it’s either they’re not meant for that kind of work or they are just too stubborn to do the job.

When you think about it, the two reasons are not really different from one another. There are those who think that employees falling under one category should attend a different training or consultation session from the employee falling under the other category. More trainings and consultation sessions won’t cut it. You need to come up with a good way to boost their productivity.

If you have staff members who are low on employee productivity because they are finding it hard to do the job, sooner or later you’ll realize that it’s not you. No matter how many times you ask, demand or even beg them to do better, they just can’t. There are even managers who think that their employees aren’t doing a good job just because they’re lazy. It is high time you realize that in every business or in every department, there will always be “legitimate barriers” that some employees find these very hard or even impossible to overcome. As a result, they can’t complete tasks and meet deadlines. All in all, they just can’t seem to meet your expectations.

If this is the case, there are two important steps you can do to handle the situation. You need to identify these barriers and you need to eliminate them!

How To Identify Them?

To identify barriers that are hindering your employees’ high productivity, you need to talk to the concerned employees and ask them directly if there are things that are making it difficult or impossible for them to not do their jobs well. From their answers you will determine the culprit barriers. Your choices would be physical barriers, wherewithal barriers, time barriers and know-how barriers.

How To Eliminate Them?

Eliminating barriers is always thought of as the tricky part. It’s not. It’s actually easy because once you and your employee have determined the culprit barrier, your employee will have ideas running through his head as to how he should have acted or responded to certain situations. Talk this over and listen to his or her ideas. Give encouragement and set effective solutions. Since this will seem like a hit and miss game then by all means, let them try again when they fail, and recognize and appreciate them when they succeed.

If, on the other hand, you have staff members who are low on productivity because they don’t want to, you also need to go over the root of the problem. Though giving them another chance is your priority and considering replacing them is your last option, you should also think about your high performing employees. Will their behavior affect the behavior of other employees? Sometimes, the only thing you can do is to put your foot forward and take them out. Doing so can stir up other slackers and raise the bar of performance for all other employees.

As a business owner or manager, the best way you can boost employee productivity is by supporting their success. Think of great ways to reward them. Large-sized companies sometime provide 3-day vacation trips to their best employees. For small scale business, its okay if you can’t afford this kind of reward, you can just praise your employee in public or give him a small token of your appreciation such as treating him to dinner or giving him gift certificates. Sooner or later you’ll see that even small gestures of appreciation can go a long way.