Email Marketing 101: Best Practices Primer

Barrister Executive Suites - Tips For Email Marketing

When you’re starting a new business, it’s really important that you establish Best Practices for a variety of activities and processes, but nothing is more important than establishing Best Practices for your email marketing campaign.

While some of this may seem very simplistic to you, it’s vitally important to remember that you are laying a foundation for the future, especially when it comes to generating interest for your product(s) and/or service(s). This is in no way, shape, or form meant to be all-inclusive, especially since every business is unique and has its own set of challenges, but these tips and pointers should get you started.

 

Tip #1:  Identify Your Customers

This is first for one simple reason:  if you don’t know your audience, you’re going to be missing the mark and your results will fall short of expectations.

It’s best to create personas of your ideal customers based on some of the following questions:

1.) How old is your ideal customer?

2.) Are they male or female?

3.) What do they do for a living?

4.) What is their annual income?

5.) What types of things do they like to do for fun?

6.) Why would your ideal customer benefit from owning your product or utilizing your service?

7.) Why would life be worse for them if they didn’t own your product or utilizes your service?

8.) What problem or challenge are they trying to solve by owning your product or service?

9.) What are their fears?

If you can’t identify your customers, your messages aren’t going to have that laser beam focus you’re looking for.  You have to speak their language – if you speak in generalities, your chances of truly connecting with them are slim to none.

 

Tip #2: Establish a Method of Collecting Customer Information

You will want to create a repository for your potential customer’s information, which also allows you to create email campaigns targeting specific customer segments.

 

Tip #3: Create a Lead Magnet

What is something that you can offer for free to your email subscribers that will provide worth and value to them right now?  Can you offer a free e-book?  Can you offer them a free video or webinar?  Basically, you’re trading your lead magnet for their email contact information in order for you to sell them something down the road.

 

Tip #4:  Create a Landing Page Offering Your Lead Magnet

So you’ve created this amazing report or free guide, or video, or .mp3 to offer your new customers, but how are you going to deliver it?  It’s simple. You can create a landing page from any number of online services.  From there, you can link your email marketing platform and once they sign up, they will receive a link to the free download.

 

Tip #5:   Create Your Email Marketing Campaign

Work with your marketing department to come up with your email marketing campaign, including not only the content that you want to send to your prospective customers but also creating a schedule.

Just as in creating any type of relationship, it’s highly preferred that you start off with just getting to know your customers and keep it casual at first, at least for the first three emails, and then make your request.

 

Tip #6:  Include Opt Out Unsubscribe Messages for your emails

The last thing you want to do is to annoy potential customers by not giving them an option of opting out and unsubscribing from any further emails.  Read up on the CAN-SPAM Act for more information.

Also remind them either at the beginning of the email or at the end of the email why they are receiving the email. Maybe you met them at a trade show, or they responded to a special offer, but be clear why they’re receiving the email.

 

Tip #7:  Create Compelling Subject Lines

The average customer receives so many emails during the course of the day that they are looking for an easy reason to delete an email, so it’s important to catch their attention. Consider your subject lines to be like the headlines in a newspaper.

 

Tip #8:  Take Your Customer Through a Journey

Everyone likes a good story, so in as few words as possible (white space is king when it comes to email marketing) take your customer on a journey.  Tell a great, economical story.

Whatever you do, if you are offering something or promising them something, deliver on that promise. If you’re going to follow up with them, then make sure you follow up.

Remember, you are creating a relationship with your customer, one that will hopefully last a good, long time.

 

Tip #9:  Evaluate What’s Working and What’s Not Working

Marketing websites provide reports with valuable data, including the click percentages, as well as those who have requested to be unsubscribed from further emails.

If your click rate is low, you might want to look at when you’re sending your email.  Run some experiments to increase the likelihood of someone opening your email.

Also be ready to do some split testing. Test out the same content with different subject lines.  Also, test the content – maybe there are some words that aren’t resonating with your customers as much as you anticipated.

 

Tip #10:  Create a Sense of Urgency and Create a Call to Action

 A common approach used by most email marketing firms is two-fold:

1.) Create a sense of urgency: create a deadline by which your customer has to respond, or they’ll be left behind… and nobody likes to be left out or left behind!

2.) Create a Call to Action.  If you want someone to do something, be very clear and specific about what you want them to do, such as “Click here.”  Don’t be afraid to make requests, but also temper them according to how long they have been part of this blossoming email relationship.

 

Tip #11:  Be Patient

Building a customer takes time, and it will take time for you to hit your stride with the right type of messaging that resonates with your customers. Don’t give up. Keep going!

 

Tip #12:  Don’t Run Afoul of Your Internet Service Provider

Make sure that you research and make sure of restrictions on the number of emails you can send out in bulk.  The last thing you want to do is to be accused of spamming anyone.

 

Tip #13:  Learn About the Latest Email Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices

Take ownership of your email marketing campaign success by learning from the greats in the marketing business, such as Seth Godin and Robert Bly. Another great resource is copyblogger.com, which is an amazing resource for all types of online marketing techniques.

 

If you put these things into practice, with time, you’ll be well on your way to email marketing success.

 

Happy Email Marketing!

10 Business Podcasts That You Should Be Listening To

Podcasts to Listen To

Education should be a regular part of your professional development. If you’re not up on the latest business trends, you are missing out on opportunities to strengthen and grow your business. It’s good to hear things from a new and fresh perspective!

Listening to business related podcasts should be part of your regular professional business regimen, and you should make time for them, even if you only listen to one podcast a week.  If time is an issue, download them and play them on the way to work or in the gym.

Knowledge is power, and the more you learn, the more you can move your business forward in a powerful way!

Here are some Podcasts to try out:

  1. School of Greatness: Hosted by former pro football player Lewis Holmes, this podcast is more for your personal development, covering subjects on how to live your best life ever. Even leaders need to be touched, moved, motivated, and inspired, and this acclaimed podcast provides that opportunity.  You can find the podcast here.
  1. Online Marketing Made Easy: Amy Porterfield hosts this extremely practical podcast where you learn about various aspects of online marketing. Some of her recent podcast topics include “How to Organize and Analyze Your Facebook Ads”, “Operation Clear Out Your Inbox”, and “How to Create a WOW Experience When Selling Online Programs”.  Listen to the latest and greatest from Amy right here.
  1. The New Business Podcast: This podcast, hosted by Chris Ducker, offers startup businesses information as to the tools that are available to help them grow their business. Listen to Chris here.
  1. The Tim Ferriss Show: Tim Ferriss does a great job of interviewing billionaires, influencers, authors, and more. They discuss their experiences, life hacks, and mental frameworks in easy-to-digest chunks.  Listen here.
  1. Smart Passive Income: If that title doesn’t want you to make you listen in, nothing will. It’s hosted by Pat Flynn, the self-described Crash Test Dummy of Online Business.  If you’re looking to create a business that will provide a passive income, you owe it to yourself to listen in.  Access Pat’s Podcast here.
  1. The Old Marketing: Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose are top influencers in digital marketing today, and their show focuses on content strategy and current trends. Listen here.
  1. TEDTalks Business: You don’t have to sit down at your computer and watch the TEDTalks. You can download them as well, and if you’re a fan of TedTalks, you know that the speakers provide incredible insight. Listen to them here.
  1. All in: Elevating Your Leadership Game:com hails Alicia Dunams’ podcast as one of the top five podcasts to start listening to. Alicia provides practical advice on how to enroll your employees in your vision for your company. You can listen to Alicia here.
  1. CopyBlogger FM: These podcasts hosted by com are short, sweet, and to the point, as they discuss the ins and outs of online marketing.  You can download them here.
  1. Business English Pod: Sharpen your business terminology skills with this terrific podcast that helps you speak more intelligently in various business situations. Download the podcasts right here.

The Benefits of Executive Suites for Corporations and Large Businesses

Barrister Suite Receptionist Virtual Offices

When you think of Executive Suites and Virtual Offices, you may picture an Entrepreneur or Freelancer who is working in a large co-working area.  In fact, Executive Suites have many benefits for businesses of all sizes, even corporations and large businesses!

Executive Suites provide both short term and long term office space rental options and are a cost effective alternative to conventional office space. We provide the furniture, receptionist, phone systems, internet, and access to office equipment like copiers and fax machines. It’s easy to expand when you need more room – just let your Suite Manager know!

Some businesses have a need for a satellite location away from the main offices, and Executive Suites are the perfect solution! You can have a prestigious (and local) business address and a local phone number. Our virtual office packages are set up for businesses that need a presence within a market and access to a professional environment.  The $300-a-month platinum package, for example, includes a receptionist and personalized telephone answering, access to a fully furnished private office for 4 hours each month and 16 hours a month of conference room use at any of our 50 conference rooms (online reservations available).

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Customers can also rent meeting rooms by the hour or day. These flexible lease terms are a wonderful benefit of the concept, and if you want to go ahead and take permanent office space, you can do so easily.

Barrister’s cost comparison chart shows that the cost of leasing a conventional office of 1,500 square feet runs about $4,500 a month compared to Barrister’s 375-square-foot private, executive suite at $2,500 a month. Other monthly cost savings include furniture ($250), employee benefits ($750), and Administrative Assistant salary ($2,500). All told, the costs for the conventional space would total $9,000 a month, while the Barrister space would run just $2,825.

Full-time offices feature these services included with your monthly rent:

  • Full-time occupancy of your own private office, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Personalized/professional telephone answering
  • Professional reception services
  • Mail sorting/delivery
  • Free access to meeting rooms, including all 50 Barrister conference rooms (online reservations available)
  • Employee/tenant lounge
  • Kitchen/beverage service
  • Fully furnished reception/lobby area
  • Utilities/janitorial service
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Which Leadership Styles Do You Use?

leadership concept

Managing and leading are NOT the same!  They can both come from the same person, but they represent different roles. Managing comes from power attached to a given title, while leading can emerge from anywhere within your company.  The primary distinction between the two may best be summed up from a quote by American management consultant, educator, and author Peter Drucker, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Managers are empowered by the company to help their team members to succeed. Their role is to ensure everyone has what they need to be effective and productive.  They also focus on educating and training; helping to ensure processes are in place and roadblocks are removed; encouraging improvements and goal-setting, and recognizing great performance and achievements.

A leader typically leads based on his or her strengths, not on titles. A leader can feel empowered by the company, but more often, they empower themselves.  A leader can be anyone on your team.  They are talented, creative thinkers, self-motivating, analytical, and typically individuals who care about both team members and the success of the company.

Good managers in your company are people who allow different leaders to emerge organically from the company system and to inspire members of their team to succeed.   The best managers, however, also empower themselves to learn how to be an effective leader.

The first step is recognizing that leadership is less about your needs, and more about the needs of the people and the organization you are trying to lead. The next step is understanding the various ways one can lead, and how you can grow in your leadership styles.

Leadership styles are not fixed, genetically-based, or inherent.  Rather, leadership styles can be learned, and different ones can be applied in different contexts and situations, with different team members, and as you consider the different challenges or goals at hand.

While there are numerous models and lists that explore leadership styles, the work of Daniel Goleman (the man who popularized the idea of “emotional intelligence”), remains a standard way people and companies consider six different styles of leadership.

Do What I Tell You!  

The Commanding (or Coercive) style is commonly referred to as “military style leadership.”  It remains a popular choice among leaders (and managers), but is often ineffective.  This style demands immediate compliance from team members. It rarely involves praise, it frequently employs criticism, it can quickly make people feel alienated, stifle creativity, and undercuts morale or job satisfaction.  The best time to utilize this style is during a crisis.  It can be effective during a takeover attempt, during natural emergencies, and – if everything else failed – to help control a problem teammate.

 Come with Me!

The Visionary (or Authoritative) style seeks to help team members move towards a common goal or vision, and is concerned with end results, not with how people get there.  This style is most helpful when a department or company needs a new direction. It can be effectively used when circumstances have changed or when explicit guidance is not required.  The visionary leadership style encourages an entrepreneurial spirit, enthusiasm, experimentation, and innovation.  It is not effective when the leader is working with experts who have more knowledge than s/he possesses.

People Come First!

The Affiliative style is primarily concerned about team dynamics.  It is focused on creating emotional bonds between team members, creating a sense of harmony, and creating a sense of belonging to your company.  This style is effective during times of stress, when teammates need to heal from a trauma, when the company needs to rebuild trust, when you need to increase morale, or when you frequently have miscommunication issues. This style is not effective when utilized frequently (or exclusively!)  It can create a company culture where team members rely too heavily on praise and it can create the perception that average or mediocre performance is acceptable.  If used too heavily, this style can also lead to frequent occurrences of groupthink, where harmony or conformity in the group becomes so important people fail to speak up and challenge team decisions – even when it’s extremely important to do so and/or when a team becomes dysfunctional.

What Do You Think?

Everyone loves democracy, right?  The Democratic style is concerned with building consensus through participation. It focuses on people’s unique talents, knowledge and skills, and it attempts to create an environment where your team is committed to reaching certain goals.  The Democratic style is effective when the direction the company should take is unclear, when the leader needs to consider the collective wisdom of his or her team, when it’s important for team members to “buy-in” or own a decision or goal, and when the leader simply realizes his or her limitations in a particular area.  It is not effective in times of crisis, when you’re under a time crunch, or when members of the team aren’t afforded time to become informed about the decisions or goals at hand.

Do as I Do, Now!

The next style of leadership is Pacesetting.  The pacesetting style applies high standards of performance on team members and this leader seeks to model excellence.  When a leader utilizes this style s/he focuses heavily on doing things better and faster and the leader expects every team member to follow suit.  This style can be effective when you’re working with team members who are already talented and motivated to succeed and/or when quick results are necessary.  Goleman suggests you use it sparingly as it can decrease morale, decrease one’s confidence in their abilities, decrease innovation and make team members feel overwhelmed.  At worst, it can poison your system with negativity, frustration, and a sense of failure.

Try This!

The final leadership style is Coaching and it is concerned with developing individuals, helping them to improve performance, helping them to focus on the future, and encouraging them to connect with company goals.  It is an effective approach when a leader wants to encourage team members who already show initiative learn how to develop and build lasting personal strengths or to help them to become more successful.  It is not effective with team members who are unmotivated, defiant, or simply unwilling to learn and grow.  If used too frequently it can also be perceived as micro-managing and undermine a team member’s self-confidence.

Leadership Styles

While many leaders have dominant leadership styles, the most effective leaders can move among all styles, adopting the one that meets the needs of the moment, the context, and/or depending on the makeup of team members.

Which types of leadership styles do use most often?  Which styles do you think you need to develop and utilize to increase success in your company?

 

How to Have an Effective – and Fun – Business Retreat

Business Retreats Barrister Executive Suites

We’ve all been to them – poorly planned or executed business retreats that end up hurting morale, confusing the team or management, or – worst of all – creating a perception that management is out-of-touch with team members.  Fear that a business retreat isn’t productive, creates new problems, or highlights the employees/management divide leads many CEOs, business owners, and VPs to avoid them all together.

That’s a poor conclusion.  Business retreats are important events.  They can be positive turning points for individuals, departments, and the company as a whole.  When done correctly, they can encourage productivity, increase morale, and create strong bonds among all company employees.

At their best, business retreats seek to find a balance between two goals.  Encouraging people to work harder, and encouraging people to relax and have some fun on the company dime.

Here are some tips:

There’s Not Only ONE Way

Many individuals who plan business retreats fail to understand some pedagogical basics, namely there are different ways you should consider presenting information (particularly new information) and there are different ways people learn and process information.  Take some time to learn about learning styles, multiple intelligence theory, and differentiated instruction.  You don’t need to create 12 different types of business retreats, but you should be mindful how to maximize everyone’s ability to get something out it

You Don’t Need to Break Your Budget

You don’t need to spend an overwhelming amount on your retreat, and it’s okay to think small if you’re planning your first one (or don’t hold retreats often).  Instead of flying everyone to a far-away vacation destination, consider an option that is local, but still a place where people can both learn AND have some kind of fun.  Also be mindful about traveling logistics, and try and find a venue that is easy to get to. Barrister Suites has 30 locations around Southern California with meeting rooms on demand and an online booking system. Many of our locations are close to restaurants and cultural attractions, as well.

More Engagement, Less Speaking

Talking at people more than with people quickly produces ineffective retreats, so don’t schedule retreats that are filled with lectures, presentations, or speeches.  Corporate retreats should be working sessions and, if you create your retreat with that in mind, you’ll likely see your retreat satisfaction rate increase.  Replace the typical long-lecture-followed-by-Q&A approach with videos of all of the information you want to convey.  Require the team to watch them prior to the retreat, so that the retreat will be a time to discuss the content, ask questions, and engage in creative brainstorming.  One exception:  there are times when information is confidential and you don’t want it to be circulated.  This information should be presently directly at the retreat itself.

Give People Options and Breaks

It’s unlikely that your team is comprised entirely of extroverts.  While it’s important to encourage engagement and bonding, you also should provide ample time for unstructured free time.  Failure to do so can result in some people feeling drained and checking out midway through the retreat.  Others simply need time to process or want the ability to choose which information is most applicable to their role.  Be sure to include intentional down times and be crystal-clear on which activities are mandatory and which are optional. When using Barrister Executive Suites, you’ll have a number of office locations that provide places for people to wind down, ponder, and recharge!

Have Fun, But Not Too Much Fun

The best business retreats make sure that people not only learn and engage in work activities, but also include time to have some fun bonding moments with their co-workers.  That said, there are still professional boundaries that must remain in place.  Be sure you don’t encourage behaviors that could have legal, professional, or personal ramifications.  Avoid strip clubs/male revues, excessive drinking, trash talking, and lewd behavior in public.  Have LOTS of fun, but always remember it’s still a BUSINESS retreat, not a bachelor/bachelorette party!

Marketing Your Retreat

We’ve already mentioned how you can consider providing videos to your staff to review before the retreat.  While that’s an important step, it shouldn’t be the only indication of a forthcoming business retreat. Encourage planners to get creative and find some fun and creative ways to tell people about the retreat in the weeks prior to it.   Consider giving your retreat a theme and use that theme as inspiration for how you can creatively market the retreat with your team.

Interns? Why do we need interns?

Interns

There are many companies and organizations with highly successful internship programs. Is your company one of them? Here are some benefits that interns can bring to your organization, no matter what size it is.

– Energy and Culture

Interns are generally eager to learn and full of youthful energy.  If your staff is mostly made up of people who have been in their roles long-term, this might provide a needed infusion of energy to the team. Coming in with little knowledge of your industry, they can provide fresh ideas and a new perspective. They are not stuck in a rut, doing the same process day-to-day that has always been in place for your business. If they have a new idea on how to do things, listen.

The more diverse the team is, the richer the culture will be!

– Find future employees

While you’re not guaranteeing them a position, interns can be a great source of future employees.  Over half of interns are offered full time positions.

During an internship, you are providing training that is probably at least similar to the training that you provide new, entry-level employees. You will get to see how the individual works with the team, how they work with your company culture, and what their overall work ethics are. If they perform well, you can invite them to apply for a full time, employee position if one’s available.

– Every size business benefits

Internships are all about learning, so a savvy student will realize that they will probably get more hands on training and one-on-one work in a smaller organization.  Just be prepared to have your trained resources spend the time needed to actually teach these students what they need to know in the industry. It’s part of the obligation that you take on with an internship program.

Having interns will, however, allow you the flexibility to handle additional clients and workload without making a permanent hire. The internship term may vary from a couple weeks to a semester, which allows you to adjust your workflow as needed.

– Technology

The new generation in college and entering the workforce has grown up in an era of technology. They have been using social media for a long time, and are very adept with mobile and web technology. Why not take advantage of that?

One of the problems facing small and medium businesses is that while they know what they should be doing to stay ahead (social media, websites, mobile technology, etc.), it’s not always something that is familiar or comfortable to them.  There’s also the time factor – if you’re running your business when do you have time to learn how to make a website, or how to market your business on Facebook?

Leverage the knowledge that interns can bring with them to the workplace, and allow them to learn how to apply it to your business.  You will both learn from the experience.

– Paid / unpaid

If you are considering starting an unpaid internship program, it’s important to know the legality of the process.  The Department of Labor has 6 criteria that must be met to be considered an unpaid intern vs. an employee who must legally receive at least a minimum wage (learn more here: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm).   Also check with your state to see if there are specific guidelines where your business operates.

Paid internships are inexpensive compared to employees, as college students are generally satisfied with entry-level or minimum wages, with no benefits.  Your company will be more appealing to interns if you offer payment, especially since college students are already hurting financially.  To attract the best candidates, consider offering a paid internship.

Need more help deciding? Here’s more information on The Case for Paying Interns

– Giving back

Training the next generation is a great way to give back and contribute to the future of your industry, and community. You’re giving them the experience of working in the industry they are training for, and providing them real-world experience in how a company works. You’re also contributing to the local workforce as a whole, which is important to the future of the community.

By offering a paid internship, you enable everyone to participate, including economically disadvantaged young adults. This provides everyone with an experience that will help facilitate a positive future.

Feeling stressed? How a walk in nature can help your health

Relaxing in nature

Many of us have jobs that require we sit in front of a computer most of the day.  Sitting for long periods of time can, itself, be bad for you and may lead to some health issues.  Many of us also have considerable amounts of stress in our lives, and unmanaged stress can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

One of best ways to get away from the computer and reduce the stress in your life is by taking a walk! Taking a brisk walk – or jogging – calms you down by sparking nerve cells in the brain that relax the senses (read more about one scientific study that explores how walking affects the brain).

Though any walking anywhere is good for you, walking in nature has been proven to be even better at reducing stress and improving your health.  Plants release the chemicals phytoncides, which protects plants from insects and rotting. When humans breathe in phytoncides, there may be an increase in the number of “natural killer” cells, which are part of a person’s immune response.  Walking in nature may also increase white blood cells, and lower the pulse rate, blood pressure, and the stress hormone cortisol.[1]

We here at Barrister Executive Suites have a number of locations that include easy access to natural habitats that are perfect for walking.  Some of our locations are next to the beach and others are near the mountains.

Barrister Suites office rentals in Santa Monica
Barrister Executive Suites in Santa Monica
Barrister Executive Suites in Santa Monica
Barrister Executive Suites in Santa Monica

Take a STEP towards better health today!

 

 

[1] https://www.loyolamedicine.org/news/boost-your-immune-system-and-shake-stress-taking-walk-woods-10022013

Fundamental Changes to the Way We Work

Fundamental Changes to the Way We Work

Once upon a time, work was a destination, not a verb, and the economy was built on regular, long-time employees.  A person took a 9-5 job in his or her 20s and stayed there until s/he was ready to retire.   Those days are all but gone!  Today’s workforce is far more fragmented, varied, and diverse. Sure – some people still hold some form of traditional employment, but many supplement it with other work.  Other types of work environments and arrangements are also quickly increasing in popularity, especially on-demand and freelance work.  In fact, 1/3 of the US workforce did some type of freelance work over the past year.

“The on-demand economy is but the latest spike in a 30-year trend toward increasing self-employment. The contingent workforce in the U.S. was 17 percent in 1989 and is forecast to reach 43 percent by 2020.” ~ from “Why the Self-Employed Will Finally Have a Bigger Voice in 2016” by Entrepreneur Magazine

The “on demand”, or “sharing” economy as it is sometimes called, has become a regular part of some people’s lives. Whether they’re offering professional services or consulting, whether they’re delivering or transporting something (or someone), or whether they are doing household errands or professional shopping, the share economy has become entrenched in our economy, especially in urban centers. The number of people working on-demand jobs is expected to grow from a current pool of 3.2 million Americans to 7.6 million by 2020.

Freelancing has become an essential part of the American economic landscape and there are a number of factors that have made freelancing so popular in recent years.

New technologies

Is Online Freelancing Right For You?

The internet has been a game-changer!  In past decades, individuals had to rely on print resources to find new work or clients.  Now they can find a job (or a new client) in significantly less time.  The pool of people one can reach also tends to be larger.   Finally, various technologies allow people to work from various locations or on-the-road.  Virtual offices are an essential part of freelancing and on-demand work.

Work-life balance
Work and life balance

Decades ago, it was rare to discover a working professional trying to obtain a “work-life balance.” The traditional – and normative – model of work demanded you put in your 8 hours, do what was necessary, deal with your commute, and then try to enjoy evenings and weekends off.  Today, more and more people want the flexibility to attend school functions during the day.  They also want to spend that commuting time doing something more productive.  Freelancing – and virtual offices – allows you to attend your child’s play even if it’s during the day.  It also allows you to complete some daily assignments instead of being stuck in traffic!

More money
Barrister Suites Real Estate Brokers Commission

While there are no guarantees in the life of freelancing and on-demand work, some studies suggest that people earn more freelancing than through traditional jobs.  There are at least two reasons why this is possible.  First, the clients you obtain don’t need to hire you and incur the typical expenses (benefits, taxes, the costs associated with having a physical office space, etc.), so you’re in a position to charge premium rates and they’re in a position to afford to pay you more. This can be a real advantage to both companies and freelancers: companies get to bring in the best talent, and freelancers get paid what they’re worth for the jobs.  The second reason involves scope.  When working from a virtual office, freelancers can go beyond local-based jobs and extend themselves nationally – and even globally.  More jobs mean more income!

 

How Barrister fits in:

At Barrister Executive Suites, we offer virtual offices that provide a professional image, while allowing for the flexibility you need. Our virtual office programs include a prestigious business address, a place to hold meetings, mail and package handling (and forwarding), a live receptionist to answer your telephone and greet your clients, and so much more!

Barrister Suite Receptionist Virtual Offices

With our Emerald, Gold, and Platinum packages, we offer personalized call answering and screening, a local or toll-free number, call forwarding to the number of your choice, a private voicemail box, and voicemail notifications (email of transcription services).

Need meeting space? Our Silver, Gold, and Platinum packages offer 16 hours of conference room use included! Or choose to purchase time a la carte at any of our 28 locations around Southern California.

Plants in the workplace

Plants in the office

Plants in the office do offer more than sprucing up the place.  Decades of research has shown that contact with vegetation and plants, in a variety of contexts, is highly beneficial to human beings.  We invite you to explore some of the benefits that comes from having plants in the workplace.

Provide cleaner air: The natural process of photosynthesis absorbs carbon dioxide in an environment while releasing oxygen into the air. Plants also absorb pollutants!  Several common species of interior plants have the ability to remove compounds such as benzene, formaldehyde, and hexane.

Reduce office noise:  When plants are strategically placed, they can have the effect of quieting an office.  A small indoor hedge placed around a workspace, for example, has been shown to reduce noise by 5 decibels.

Reduce stress:  Some people find that plants reduce their stress levels.  The mere presence of plants help these individuals to feel they are in a natural setting, which can produce a calming effect.  When an employee is less stressed, they are better able to focus on their duties.

Provide a more comfortable environment:  Plants add moisture into the air.  This moisture, in turn, can lower temperatures and increase humidity levels, which can lead to employees feeling more comfortable overall.

Plants and flowers can inspire us:  Natural elements often help to provide humans with illumination and creativity.  Some studies haves demonstrated a clear link between the presence of office plants and the rise of innovative thinking, idea generation, and problem solving.

We here at Barrister Suites know that having plants in the office environment can be beneficial. Many of our Suites have plants in the reception and common areas. You don’t even have to water them! We take care of that.

 

 

Learn more about the studies about The Benefits of Plants in the Workplace

How much is too much process?

Policies and procedure documents for business

Processes are designed to help companies grow, develop best practices, and improve efficiency. If they’re not regularly evaluated, however, they can quickly get out of control.  Too much emphasis on process can stifle innovation and creativity.

In a study of U.S. and European companies, the Boston Consulting Group found that “over the past fifteen years, the amount of procedures, vertical layers, interface structures, coordination bodies, and decision approvals needed…has increased by anywhere from 50 percent to 350 percent.” In addition, “managers spend 40 percent of their time writing reports and 30 percent to 60 percent of it in coordination meetings.”*

Businesses use processes because it allows them to measure productivity and progress, which, in turn, makes people feel more accountable and efficient. When processes are used correctly, they should simplify and standardize necessary works tasks that allow a business to operate smoothly. They are meant to enable companies to undertake complex work.

The situation becomes unhealthy and dysfunctional when there are so many processes in place that they restrain the people they’re supposed to help.  Processes should empower people, not make their lives more difficult.   If your employees spend considerable time asking for – or seeking – permission before executing a task, if they’re attending unnecessary or redundant meetings, or if their days are filled with answering irrelevant or unimportant emails, you’ve got a problem.   When this happens, the processes have become a bureaucracy – one that is stifling effectiveness and flexibility, as well as sacrificing creativity and innovation.

Here are five indications that processes has become a problem in your workplace:

 

  1. Lack of clear vision: Great companies crave a big-picture vision and important goals to strive for. Unfortunately, many companies have vision statements that are filled with jargon and buzz words, but devoid of any actual meaning. This creates a lack of real purpose within the organization.

 

  1. Empowering with permission—but without action: Often we give our employees more responsibility, but our processes insist they obtain an unreasonable number of approvals (or sign-offs) before they can actually get the work done. This is not empowering, but rather, it signals a lack of trust.

 

  1. Too much dependence on meetings: Productive and collaborative teamwork does not require meetings for every single decision, task, or action. Employees can become ineffective or overwhelmed when they find themselves constantly stuck in meetings. This dependence on meeting indicates that politics have taken precedence over productivity.

 

  1. Leaders who focus on process instead of people: Too often managers, supervisors, and other leaders look to processes, and not people, when they want to try to solve problems. This approach doesn’t work! Instead of recognizing that a person needs more training to do a certain task, for example, a new software is purchased to try and do the task for them – or make it easier. This signals a lack of humanity.

 

  1. Management acts as judge: The purpose of at least some meetings should be to encourage creating, thinking, or building. If managers consistently oppose all new ideas from employees – or balk if/when they question the status quo, then this signals a lack of openness or perspective.

 

Don’t let process become your company’s culture.  Yes, you want to efficiently – and consistently – produce outstanding results, however if your employees have jobs that depend on meeting metrics and maintaining the status quo, they’ll be reluctant to spend their energy towards invention, innovation, and creating something new.