Tips For Avoiding A Crisis At Work

A crisis at work is oftentimes unavoidable. Let’s face it, your company isn’t invincible, and it definitely isn’t free from the critical eyes of your customers. Inevitably, something will go wrong. Whether it’s an angry customer who you charged way too much to for a product, or losing profits in an unforgiving economic recession, a crisis is going to happen.

But I’m not here to scare you away from your own business! On the contrary, at FGmarket, we want to help you learn how you can overcome a crisis when it does occur. Check out some of our tips below.

Assess The Situation

The first step in solving in solving a crisis is to assess the situation and identify all of the contributing factors of the crisis. You have to find the epicenter of the earthquake. Was it a salesperson who accidentally charged a customer’s credit card too much? Or maybe they were rude to them on the phone and now the customer is upset? The crisis could also be totally out of your control, but you still have to pinpoint the problem in order for steps to be taken for its resolve.

Figure Out The Chain Of Command

Who needs to be notified of the crisis now that you’ve identified the source? It could be a manager or supervisor, but it could also be someone with very good communication skills, and someone that will be able to efficiently assess a situation and find the best solution. Whatever the best decision is, you must figure out who to go to first when a problem arises.

Keep Your Cool

Keeping your cool in bad situations is one of the most important skills to remember and practice. It helps you to keep a level head and be able to solve problems without making it worse. Show panic in any way and you could further escalate a delicate situation.

Apologize Where Necessary

The old saying “The customer is always right” has always made me question its truth, but in many cases, it can be trusted as sound advice. It doesn’t literally mean that the customers is always right, but giving them the illusion that they are right will really work to your advantage. You’re supposed to be courteous to your customers, and if you really have made a mistake, apologized to them profusely. You can even give them a special discount as a consolation for your error. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and are more likely to continue shopping with you because of it!

It’ll Get Better

If you feel discouraged, remember that usually a situation will eventually correct itself and get better. All it takes is a little encouragement and a lot of crisis management to make a sour situation turn into a positive situation that will advance your business. If nothing else, you’ll learn from your mistakes and become a better business because of it.

Communication Apprehension: What It Is And How To Get Over It

Talking with your coworkers or your boss can sometimes be an intimidating thing to do. Building up the courage to speak with someone you don’t know, especially if your personalities don’t necessarily click, can cause a great deal of stress. This is what is referred to as communication apprehension. It’s a common problem in many workplaces, and often leads to goals not being met, tasks being looked over, and sometimes it can cause strife between coworkers.

But, thankfully, communication apprehension is a non-life threatening disorder that can be cured without medicine or therapy; it just takes a little work by the person suffering from the apprehension.

It’s Not Easy Being New

It’s not easy being the new person at a job (assuming your apprehension is caused by A) you have a new job and B) you don’t know anyone at this new job). You’re never going to meet anyone if you don’t speak to people, though. That’s why communication is one of the most important things you have to work at when you start a new career. If you have a breakroom at work, sit with someone you don’t know for lunch. Work in a space with other people? Talk to them, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know how to do something.

Nothing Gets Accomplished Without Communication

Communication is key. That’s an old phrase that holds a lot of truth. Nothing ever gets accomplished without communication, especially in the business world. How would your customers feel if you were too scared to talk to them, and never helped them when they had questions? Without communication, goals aren’t met, and problems arise.

It’s Not As Scary As It Seems

“Oh come on, they aren’t going to bite your arm off.” That’s what my dad would say to me every time I complained about having to talk to someone I didn’t know. I was a very shy kid. But his words of wisdom were 99% accurate; most people are friendly, and happy to speak with you (there’s always that 1% though…) At any rate, don’t be afraid to speak to a coworker, because they are definitely not as scary as they might seem.

Your Coworker Could Be Feeling The Same Way

Sometimes, the reasons that you might come up with in your mind to not talk to somebody is also felt by the person you’re scared to approach! I find this happens more often than you would think. With that in mind, it’s always easier once you know that you’re not the only one who’s afraid to start a conversation, or ask a question. Take encouragement from that, and use that encouragement to speak with that intimidating coworker.

You’ll Be Better Off After Taking The Plunge

Once you start building a highway of communication, your ride will be way smoother. You’ll find that communicating with that coworker you were scared to approach is much easier, and less awkward. You’ll never know until you take the dive.

Here’s How To Write Better Email Subject Lines

Emails aren’t always the most exciting thing to see in your Inbox. I mean, sure, every once in a while you’ll see an email that catches your eye, based on the subject line alone, and you feel inclined to open it and see what’s hiding inside. But most of the time, we’re more inclined to read the subject line, decide if it interest us or not, and then immediately hit the Delete icon.

That’s what happens to most emails. Most aren’t even opened. Why? Because your subject line stinks, and it doesn’t interest your audience. Just like at common open rates for sales and marketing emails and you’ll see that this is a common problem.

So, what do you do to improve your open rate, and get more people to buy your products, visit your website, and stay loyal customers? Improve your subject lines with these simple tips!

Keep Them Short

People like their information to be quick, simple, and to the point. The same goes for your email subject line. Don’t write an overly long sentence that forces the receiver of the email to search for the important stuff. Two to five-word subject lines give more than enough info to people. Plus, longer subject lines will often get cut off in someone’s inbox (especially if they’re looking at their email on a mobile device).

Ask A Question

Want to score a deal? Looking for more sales? Want your emails to shine?

Of course you do. Everyone wants these things. When you ask a question in an email subject line, you’re inviting the receiver of the email to ask the question to themselves, thus convincing (or not convincing) them that they need to open your email and see what you’re offering.

Tease Them

Don’t give away everything in the subject line. That’s like placing Christmas presents under the tree without wrapping them! There’s got to be a little bit of suspense and intrigue involved with your emails. Says things like “You Won’t Believe This Deal…” or “You Have To See This!” These might be considered “clickbait” on blog posts (don’t every do them there), but for subject lines, they work great for enticing customers.

Don’t Sound Too Sale-sy

Sure, okay, you’re sending out a sales email to make, what else, a sale. But, a lot of times when you write a very sale-sy sounding subject line, you run the risk of getting marked as spam in someone’s email. Avoid using words like “Buy This Now!” or words like “Free.” Also, try not to use a lot of exclamation points. This is a big red flag for spam emails.

Talk To People Directly

People like to be talked to directly, as if you, the company, have a personal connection with them. Use words that convey directness when composing your subject line, such as “You Need This Deal,” “Hey, We Thought You’d Like This,” and “An Offer Made For You.”

Use Urgency

Urgency in your emails is a great way to make people believe that they have to act right away on something, or they’ll miss out. Use the same urgency strategy in your subject lines to convey that same feeling to customers.

Emails are a powerful marketing tool. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of your subject lines to get better open rates, and more sales!

Overcoming Your Workplace Fears In 3 Simple Steps

Everyone fears something. It’s part of human nature to be afraid of something. That doesn’t change in the workplace, where fears such as not getting that expected promotion, speaking in front of coworkers during a meeting, and even the fear of being fired surround many people each and every day.

It’s not easy living in fear of your workplace; after all, with 8-hour work days, 5 days a week, we spend most of our waking hours at our jobs!

That’s why it’s so important to learn how to overcome these fears. Because if you don’t, they can make your life miserable, and hinder you from moving on to bigger and better things in your career.

Here are a few tips that can help you get out of a metaphorical rut that’s holding you down, and back on your feet, conquering your workplace fears!

Find The Cause

There’s always a cause for your workplace fear, even if it’s not immediately clear upon the first inspection. In order to get over your fear, you have to first learn how to identify it. Are you afraid that another coworker is going to get promoted before you, even though you have more experience and you’re a harder worker? Do you think that you’re not reaching your full potential in the eyes of your superior? These are common fears that many of us face, but you’ll have to root all the cause of your fear before it can be conquered.

Make a list of things that worry you, or seem to cause tension when you’re at work. It might even be certain people that you work with who are causing strife. But it’s always best to first identify the cause of the problem.

Talk To Coworkers

Have you talked to your coworkers about your fears? Chances are, you’re not the only one who faces difficulties at work. Many employees find themselves suffering from the same workplace fears (especially if the cause of the fear is a common overbearing coworker or boss). Problems always seem to work themselves out whenever people share their thoughts and feelings with each other. If nothing else, you’ll find an ally in your coworker who shares the same fears as you, and you can help each other get through them!

Find Solutions

Of course, whenever you figure out the cause of your fears, the next big step is to solve the problem. I’ve already mentioned talking with coworkers and seeing if they face the same fears as you, but this is just one solution. Other solutions could be something as simple as removing yourself from a place of fear by listening to calming music, or drinking herbal tea, or something more extream such as finally pushing yourself to speak and lead an important meeting. If your problem is a coworker, maybe you can find a time to finally sit down and sort out all the concerns you have with how they’re treating you. Not in a judgemental way, mind you, but in a way that comes off as caring, with a sense of “I just want to get along.”

If you feel like certain things at your workplace are causing you to be unhappy and fearful, you have to take steps in order to solve the problem. Be courageous, and face your fears! Your life/work balance will thank you later for it.

How Often Should You Publish Blog Posts?

Managing your own personal blog post, or a blog for your business, it a tough job. There are so many different variables that you have to take into consideration in order to ensure that your blog is successful.

Should I post today? What should I write about? Am I posting too much? Too little? Does anyone care about the things I’m writing about? How do I know if my blog is working?

While I don’t have the answers to every question, I can at least give a little insight into how often you should publish blog posts.

Have A Few Articles Already In There

First off, before we get into the actual frequency of your posts, we need to briefly go over your current blog situation. When you start promoting your blog to your customers, you want to come at them with a reasonable amount of articles already published on your blog. Why? It gives your blog a sense of credibility because you don’t have just one post in your blog. When people go to your blog, they often will browse around and look at other articles. If you don’t have other articles for them to look at, you’ll quickly lose their interest. Having at least 5 or 6 blog posts already in your blog when you launch it to the public is a good number to start off with.

Frequency of Posts

As for the frequency of your posts, it all depends on how you want to use your blog. Are you looking to be an informational resource for customers who are interested in topics related to your product/service, or are you simply keeping a blog to give people an inside look into your business, and keep them updated with news? This is an important distinction that you will base the number of posts you publish in a month, week, and even day.

For those using a blog as a resource for customers, posting at least once a day (if you have the time) is a good practice. This keeps your blog fresh with new articles, and it also lets customers know that you are active in your writing. This also gives you great content for your social media accounts, allowing you to also post at least once a day on those mediums as well. Once-a-day posts are great for their ability to keep you constantly in the public eye and are great for marketing yourself to potential customers.

Now, if you’re only using your blog for a news and “here’s what we’re doing at (insert business here)” you can probably limit your posts to once a week, biweekly, or even once a month.

Balance Is Key

The main thing you need to remember is that you can’t post too much or too little; you have to find a balanced sweet spot.

Post too much, and you run the risk of annoying your consumer base. Post too little and people will forget that you even exist.

For FGmarket, we try to post an article on our blog at least once a day, sometimes more. We assist hundreds of businesses all across the country through our online tradeshow, so we know they expect to see us active online, on our blogs and through social media.

Your blog is a crucial marketing tool that can either positively or negatively affect you.

Why Meetings Stink (And How You Can Fix Them)

Meetings are…not fun. Usually.

You know the scenario. You’re hard at work accomplishing your daily tasks, sipping your fresh cup of dark roast coffee with a hint of French vanilla creamer, and you’ve got some light instrumental music playing in your headphones. It’s 9 a.m., and you’ve brushed off the sleepiness of the morning and finally gotten into your work groove.

Then, all of a sudden, you get an email from the higher-ups saying that an impromptu meeting has been called for, you guessed it, RIGHT NOW.

You’re suddenly pulled out of your workflow and immediately have to shift your focus to whatever this meeting is about. And to make matters worse, by the end of the meeting you find out that it wasn’t even necessary for you to be in the meeting in the first place; it focused on someone’s else’s work responsibilities, not yours!

This, my friends, is why 9 out of 10 times, I hate meetings. I find them big time wasters, workflow interrupters, and oftentimes unproductive to the office environment.

If you don’t believe, just look at the statistics:

  • 33.4% of meeting time is considered unproductive by meeting participants
  • The most common complaint about meetings is they are inconclusive and result in no decisions being made.
  • The average meeting length is between 31-60 minutes, followed closely by 1 – 1.5 hours.

But, there are solutions to this problem. There are ways to make meetings suck less and be more productive. If you want to cut out meetings altogether, we’ve got tips for that, too. Keep reading to find out how to make the best of your boring meetings!

Keep Them Short

Sitting through a long meeting is a frustrating thing. 1. You don’t even want to be in this meeting anyway and 2. you already finished talking about the important stuff 10 minutes ago, and now people are just chatting! Long meetings are not only boring, they also keep employees from working on the tasks they need to complete for that day. It could potentially make their work day even longer than normal. Keep your meetings short, and don’t linger on unnecessary talking points. Keep it short, sweet and to the point!

Relax

Whether you’re the person who called the meeting, or the person on the other end having to sit through the meeting, being calm, cool and collected are three goals to remember. Chances are, no one else really wants to be at the meeting either, so why stress about it? If everyone in the meeting keeps their cool and relaxes, even when discussing important topics, the meeting will go a lot smoother.

Don’t Call Them Out Of Nowhere, Unless It’s An Emergency

Have you ever had a meeting sprung on you out of nowhere, right when you’re in the middle of completing an important work task? It’s the worse feeling in the world. Not only do you have to stop everything and go to the meeting, you also run the risk of losing your train of thought. When you come back after the meeting, your work groove could be completely squashed! If you’re going to call a meeting, it’s best to give everyone at least 30 minutes notice. That way, they can find a stopping point, and won’t come to the meeting in a flustered state. Emergencies happen, and sometimes you can’t help but call an impromptu meeting, but try to think of others in non-life threating situations.

Allow Everyone To Have A Say

In every meeting I’ve been in, it never fails that there will be one person in the meeting who does most or all of the talking. If they have a lot of great info to present, it’s a good thing. But what if they’re taking up someone else’s talking time? You can’t let one person dominate a conversation to the point that everyone else feels like their opinion doesn’t matter and their voices aren’t being heard. If you called the meeting, know when to call on others to speak up. If you’re the person trying to get your voice heard, don’t be afraid to take ownership of the meeting and speak up!

Explore Other Ways Of Communicating

Meetings aren’t always the best solution for discussing ideas. You can also make use of different tech to accomplish your brainstorming sessions and project progress reports without having everyone leave their workspace! Software like Slack, a messaging app for groups, and Google Hangouts, another messaging app that has video chat functionality, make it easy for ideas to be passed around without everyone having to take time out of their busy days to go to a meeting. Even email can be helpful (although, getting tons of emails a day is also rather annoying. But that’s an issue to be discussed on another day). There are plenty of alternative ways to communicate, you just have to go out and explore.

Meetings aren’t all bad. Sometimes, they are actually productive, and not huge time wasters. Find out if meetings are worth it for your company and your employees, and develop a strategy that works for everyone!

Earn More Referrals In 5 Easy Steps

Getting referrals from customers is one of the key components of growing your business. After all, you can’t reach every potential customer by traditional advertising means; sometimes, you have to rely on word-of-mouth marketing and brand evangelists.

When you get more referrals from happy customers, you get more business. That’s how it works. More people talking about your business to their friends, family, and people they meet on the street increases your business’s reach and gets your name swirling around in the heads of potential customers.

But how do you get more referrals? Do you ask people to tell others about your business? Do you wait for them to do it themselves? Turns out, there’s no solid answer to getting more referrals, and reaching more people comes from a mix of telling people yourself and waiting for others to do the referring for you.

If you need some tips on how to get more business referrals, we’ve got a great list of a few things that you could be doing better in order to get high-quality referrals!

It’s Okay To Ask

You might think that it’s a bit weird to ask people to brag about your company to others, but it’s actually not as awkward and unprofessional as you might think. I’m sure you’ve been on Facebook or Twitter before and seen a business say “Like and Share our post!” They aren’t holding a gun to your head, forcing you to do what they request; they’re suggesting it. You have complete control over whether you share the post with your followers or not.

Similarly, when you tell a satisfied customer to “let your friends know about us!” you’re not being pushy. The customer has complete control over their decisions, and if they like you and what you have to offer enough, they’ll be more than willing to refer others to you! This type of self-promotion is advantageous to your business. But remember to never cross the line between self-promotion and self-indulgence.

Know When To Ask

I think there’s an old Kenny Rogers song that goes “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em”… anyway, this strategy rings true for referrals as well. If you’re going to ask a customer to tell others about your business and help spread the word, you have to wait until the right moment. Did you recently help a customer find exactly what they were looking for, or just got a positive review from someone? Then it’s the perfect time to ask. Did you accidentally overcharge them for a product, gave them bad customer service, or something else that would upset a customer? DO NOT ask them to refer you to others. The only thing you’ll get is an even more upset customer.

Listen To Feedback

Do you listen to feedback? I mean, do you REALLY listen to feedback? If you do, then you’ll know that people have very strong opinions about your business, both positive and negative.

The best way to gauge how people feel about you, and if they’re likely to be a good referral partner, is to do online surveys. Whether that’s through Google Forms, SurveyMonkey or some other survey tool, it’s important to gather, and pay attention to, feedback. These surveys let you know if you’re meeting customers’ expectations, and if you’re on the right path to getting more referrals.

Go Above and Beyond

Customers don’t want you to just do the minimum amount necessary to earn their approval; they want you to “Wow” them. If you “Wow” your customers, you’re more likely to increase your word-of-mouth marketing, that is, people telling other people about your business. And isn’t that basically what a referral is in the first place?

You want to impress your customers to the point that they’re willing to go out and tell others about your business.

You can also add incentives, such as discounts and prizes, for current customers who refer your business to someone they know. It’s the simple things that lets customers know you really care about making them happy.

If Asking Isn’t The Answer, Let Your Business Speak for Itself

If you feel like there’s no need to tell your customers to spread the word about your company, then congratulations, you’re already succeeding at earning more referrals! You’re on the right path to success.

You see, when people really, truly believe in your business, they are more than willing to brag about you and let others in on what they might consider “their little secret.” It makes it seem like they’re getting insider information on a hot new company that’s destined to skyrocket in popularity in the future.

This is where you get what’s know as Brand Evangelists (no, I’m not talking about Joel Osteen here). A Brand Evangelist is a super loyal customer, who enthusiastically tells others about your business without you ever having to suggest it. They’re your most powerful referral tools because they do the work of spreading the word about your business with no incentive other than they love what you do!

Getting more referrals is essential to flourishing as a business owner. Make sure you’re always listening to your customers and learning what’s important to their needs. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole army of loyal customers who take pride in being able to tell others about you!

How To Use Content Marketing To Grow Your Business

Content marketing.

You may have heard this term once or twice before, and wondered: what is that?

Hootsuite defines content marketing as this:

A marketing strategy based on attracting and retaining customers through the creation and distribution of valuable content, such as videos, white papers, guides, and infographics. Content marketers look to earn customer loyalty and influence decisions by providing useful, entertaining, or educational media.

You can also add to this list things like a blog, or newsletter. Content marketing is everywhere you look, and you might not have even realized before now. Heck, even this blog post that you’re reading right now is a form of content marketing!

But you might be asking, “why would I want to give away free stuff? How does that help me grow my business?”

Luckily, we’ve got a quick guide for you showing all the ways content marketing can be advantageous to your company.

It’s Carefully Catered To Consumer’s Needs

Advertising’s success rate is pretty much right on target or miss completely. There’s usually no middle ground. You spend months and months planning a big advertising campaign, only to watch it fail completely because you catered to a small audience, instead of the much larger one you should’ve been aiming to hit. With content marketing, you’re able to hit your audience right on target most of the time because you’re making content that caters to their needs and wants. A blog is a great way to hit all of your targets at once. Whether you have someone that’s looking to learn more about social media, or someone who needs some general office health advice, a blog can cover all of this, and it stays on your website forever.

This is also important for getting your website found on search engines through what’s called Search Engine Optimization. When people Google “where can I find wholesale handmade soap?” you want your website to be the first one that pops up in the search results. Having a blog that’s full of engaging, helpful information for consumers is a good way to increase your rankings.

It’s Engaging

People like to feel like they’re being engaged with in a meaningful way when they visit a business’s website, social media profile, or YouTube channel. That’s exactly what content marketing is intended to do. It engages your customers, whether that be through an awesome branded video or an informative blog post. And when you engage with your customers they’re more likely to trust you and come back to use your service, or buy your products.

It’s Fun

Content marketing needs to be informative, but it also needs to be fun! When you write your next blog post about customer service tips, don’t write it in a way that’s boring, flat, stale and stiff. Pep up your blog with some fun and descriptive language! Make the reader want to keep coming back to your blog, where they know they can learn something new AND enjoy it at the same time. Oftentimes businesses focus on the informative part of content marketing, and really miss out on all the fun they could be having with it as well.

It’s Real

Do you think that the auto sales advertisement you see on a billboard as you’re driving to work REALLY has your best interest at heart when they’re selling you a car, or are they just trying to make some money off of you? I’d go with the second option. But that’s only because I don’t know that auto sales company, and their advertisement (the one with the attractive buyer smiling big because they just bought a new car) just screams inauthentic to me. To let your customers know that you’re a real company, with real goals of satisfying the customer’s needs, you need to focus on connecting with customers on a geniune level rather than thinking only about the sale. That’s why social media is such a successful marketing tool. It lets businesses interact with their customers in ways they were never able to do with a phone call or email. Market your content out to customers in a way that truly connect with what they are interested in, and be honest about yourself. You’ll find that customers appreciate this, and will keep coming back to you (they might even reccomend you to a friend!)

Content marketing is one of the most powerful tools you have as a business owner. You might think you’re just giving away free content, but in reality, you’re building lasting relationships with the customers you serve.

 

6 Ways To Keep Your Cool and Handle Workplace Conflict

We’re not always going to get along with everyone we work with. Everyone has different opinions, ways of doing work, handling strategies, and even common annoyances that make conflict with a coworker inevitable.

Have a coworker that chews loudly at their desk during lunch or while they’re taking a snack break? What about one is a fundamentally different person than you personality wise, which causes you to butt heads constantly during meetings?

We all know someone who gets on our last nerves at work, and who we try to avoid at all costs during the typical 8-hour workday.

But what if I told you that by avoiding conflict with that particular coworker you’re doing more harm than good?

If you have a workplace conflict, and you sincerely want to see it resolved so you can move on with your job and your life, here are a few tips.

Have A Conversation

Conflict almost always start with miscommunication. When you’re in the heat of the moment, and you feel really passionately about your ideas, you might not always be communicating your ideas efficiently. If you feel like a conflict was caused by an inadequate conversation, then it’s always best to schedule a time to talk with that person again. Let them know through an email or quick phone call that you didn’t feel like you explained yourself well enough during the last meeting, and that you’d like to set up a new meeting to resolve any wrong information. Chances are, they were thinking the same thing, and would like to talk with you again as well.

Listen

Conversation arguably involves two skills: talking and listening, with listening being the most important of the two for avoiding conflict. Let’s say you’re having a heated discussion with a coworker about the best way to use your extra marketing funds for an advertising campaign. You say you should go the more progressive way and advertise online only, but your coworker argues that traditional ads, such as billboards, magazines, and newspaper ads, are the more efficient way. Neither one of you is necessarily wrong, but it doesn’t matter because at this point you’re both talking over each other and failing to listen to what the other person has to say. You don’t even know if their ideas make sense because you haven’t heard them yet! Listening solves many of the most common workplace conflicts.

Admit When You’re Wrong

Have a pride issue? We all do when it comes to an idea that we’re proud of. But one of the more virtuous stances to take is the one of humbleness. Have you ever realized you were wrong about a stance you were taking halfway through an argument with someone? Yeah, it’s embarrassing. But if you simply admit to someone that you were wrong, then they’re more likely to respect you because, at that point, they’ll realize you’re a level-headed and logical thinking person. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes when you’ve made a bad decision.

Forgive

What if someone makes a choice that negatively affects you, or causes you distress? At that point, the ball is in your court to handle the situation. Sure, you could blow up on them and call them out on everything they’ve done to wrong you, but that only makes the conflict worse. The best approach is to take a forgiving stance. If they were courageous and humble enough to admit that they were wrong, then they deserve your forgiveness.

Pick Your Battles

Ever heard the saying “won the battle but lost the war”? How about the other way around, “lost the battle but won the war”? It’s important to learn the difference between the two. If you win the current conflict, but lose the overall workplace war, then what have you accomplished? Answer: a lifetime of recurring battles. What about losing the battle and winning the war? You don’t always have to come out of an argument on the winning side of the skirmish. No war was ever won without losing some battles along the way (just look at the Unites States’ own Revolutionary War if you don’t believe me). It’s much more important to peacefully resolve an ongoing war, rather than ensure that you win every argument.

Look At It From Their Perspective

If you really want to understand the “why” and “how” of a conflict, learn to put yourself in their shoes. Can you understand where they’re coming from on their side of the argument? Is that a side that you could inevitably find yourself on one day? It’s easy to say in the moment, “No, you’re wrong because you don’t understand what I’m saying!” But do we really even understand what the other person is saying? If you learn to look at things from their perspective, you’ll learn to resolve conflicts quicker, and might even learn about the other person on a deeper level through the process.

When people learn to put their pride aside and listen, workplace conflicts will quickly resolve themselves. All it takes is a little compassion, humbleness, and good communication skills.

Don’t Be Stale: Why Thinking Outside Of The Box Is A Good Business Strategy

Do you often feel you’re trapped in the same old boring routine? Like you’re always going in circles when it comes to making big decisions on projects, such as how implement your newest social marketing strategy, or how to attract more customers to your business?

This is usually a result of being trapped inside of the metaphorically famous “Box.” This is a space where you can’t seem to venture outside of the six imaginary sides that surround you, and where you always get trapped in the same thought pattern.

We all know that “thinking outside of the box,” as the saying goes, is an effective strategy in our day-to-day lives. So, it wouldn’t be that big of a stretch to believe that thinking outside of the box on a business level is crucial as well, would it?

When you’re constantly thinking with the same mindset, your creativity suffers. You don’t progress, you don’t grow, and you don’t attract new business. These are just simple facts of life.

Need a firsthand account of why thinking outside of the box is an excellent strategy to practice? Matthew Swyers, founder of The Trademark Company, recalls a story from his past where he was hit with a trademark lawsuit, but thanks to some creative thinking, overcame having to pay a hefty fine. 

But why is thinking outside of the box intrinsically important to your business? Consider these points:

Things Change

Oftentimes, those who don’t think outside of the box are people who are stuck in their ways. They’ve gotten so used to doing something one way for years and years, that they completely block out any new ideas from others. This is a bad way of doing business not only because it hurts your relationship with your coworkers and employees, but it also gets you stuck in a pattern while the rest of the world moves on without you.

Our world is constantly changing, at a more rapid pace than it ever has before. New tech is been invented every day, marketing strategies are evolving, and even the ways people think and interact with businesses are changing in a huge way. If you stick with what you’ve always known, rather than what you have yet to discover, you’ll find yourself losing customers, and being left in the dust while newer, younger startups take over your industry and steal away your customers.

The Box Gets Stale

Like a 6-month-expired bag of tortilla chips that you find in the back of your pantry, the Box will eventually get stale. And no one likes a stale Box. A stale box is unappealing. It’s boring. And it’s not worth your time.

Fresh, new ideas will inspire others to pay attention to you. Your employees will feel re-energized, and new customers will want to come over to check out what you have to offer. Getting rid of your stale image can manifest in a number of different ways, such as coming up with a new product, or rebranding yourself. Whatever your fresh idea is, explore it, and use it to attract new business!

Creative Juices Are Good Juices

Have you ever heard the phrase, “get your creative juices flowing”? It’s a weird — and personally, kind of physically upsetting — way to describe thinking outside of the box. You need to be creative in order to survive in the business world.

Take, for example, Super Bowl commercials. These are widely regarded as some of the funniest, most creative commercials of the year and brands know that people expect great things out of them when the Super Bowl rolls around each every February. That’s why they go all-in on their commercials, employing sometimes outrageous stunts in order to get their message across.

Remember the weird Mt. Dew Kickstart commercial from Super Bowl 50? You know, #puppymonkeybaby? This was one of the weirdest commercials of the Super Bowl, and it makes almost no sense at all. But…it got your attention, didn’t it? Countless articles popped up soon after the commercials appeared, both criticizing it and praising it. Either way, Mt. Dew accomplished what they set out to do in the first place; make a very creative, albeit absolutely bonkers, commercial and get people talking about Mt. Dew Kickstart. It was effective because it was creative.

If you want to be successful in this ever-changing business world, you have to learn to think outside of the box. If not, you’ll be left behind in the shadow of companies who have embraced creativity, and tried out new ways of running their business. Don’t be afraid to think differently.