Monday, December 28, 2015

Productivity Hacks For Business Owners

Productivity hacks for business owners and entrepreneurs

According to studies, productivity is rising by 2.2% across all niches in American business. 

What does this indicate? It demonstrates a distinct change from old habits by business owners around the country. There is a realization indicating productivity can make or break one's company and focusing in on this is significant. It does not have to be major changes where the business is being turned upside down. In fact, it is the minute changes, which bring about the biggest results. Let's take a a look at productivity hacks for business owners to maximize.

Understanding The Power Of Automation

Automation is the foundation of any modernized business. The days of "doing it all on your own" are long in the past and should not be used as the measure of success. A person can only do so much on their own, and at some point this outlook will severely limit your success in business.

To ensure this does not take place, it is time to automate the business as much as possible. How can this be done?

It begins with the use of the software. Financial concerns such as payroll and taxes should be automated from top to bottom. There are specific software systems in place now which are being used around the world. Have this software setup in place to take care of all financial details.

Your Next Seven is a great example of easy-to-use software that you can use to reduce time spent organizing employee scheduling. Look for what repetitive or stressful tasks you have to work on regularly, and find software that will automate the process or reduce the amount of time needed to complete it.

To make sure the software is working as intended, you can have someone make routine checks on a weekly basis. This will keep everything running as needed and will save a lot of time in the long-term. 

Work On The Undesirable First

There are certain tasks in one's day which are undesirable. As a business owner, you have to get rid of these tasks as soon as you can. Each person is going to have specific tasks they simply dislike and don't want to do. Yet, the business has to run based on those tasks.

If that is the case, you should be looking to get those tasks done first when you have the most energy. This will give you ample time to do the tasks you enjoy without the stress of anything else. Isn't that a better scenario than leaving the undesirable tasks to the end?

It will also ensure you are more productive as the worst should be done when you have the most to give in terms of energy.

Don't Leave Simple Tasks Hanging

When it comes to productivity hacks for business owners, you always want to get the simple tasks out of the way as well. This is the only way to ensure you are on the right path towards success. Simple tasks are something you should always be doing as needed.

Whenever these tasks come, you should get them out of the way.

These are easy to do and if you delay them, they are going to add up.

Take Out Time For Yourself

This is one of those productivity hacks which tend to get ignored, but should not be. You should always be sure to spend adequate time away from work as that is going to let you relax and enjoy what is going on around you. Taking just a few minutes out of each day to really decompress and let your brain reset can make a huge difference in your productivity.

Avoid taking those 'mini' breaks and instead, allot specific time in which you are going to do something you wish. This break can be for 15, 20, or even 60 minutes. It is up to you dependent upon what will help you stay focused. 

Find Time Away From The Office To Work

Studies show a business owner can improve their work performance significantly by finding time away from the office to work. Why does this help? It ensures the mind is able to get away from feeling trapped. Being in the office pushes the mind to connect with the feeling of being restricted and caged.

Ban Social Media

Yes, this goes for you and your employees. Social media is regarded as being one of the biggest time wasters in the office space. It is important to block access to these sites as soon as possible. By removing these potential distractions, you can ensure that you and your workforce are being as productive as possible. 

Empower The Employees

This is one of the simplest hacks a business owner can use and it has been implemented for years. Reduce your own workload by placing it on the shoulders of employees. There is a twist to this, however, to ensure things don't get put off and are being done quickly.

The goal is to ensure they have a longer leash in terms of how much they can do on their own. Why not train them in a manner where decisions are being made without you always having to approve? Get those who are trustworthy to do the work for you.

This will cut your work in half and that is when a business owner can start focusing on the bigger picture.

These are the productivity hacks for business owners which will bring about positive results. It is easy to get lost in earning money and not realizing it is the simple changes which will bring about the biggest benefits. There are countless people who refuse to understand this and that is what holds them back. In this day and age, those who are ignorant when it comes to optimizing their work flow will lose out. Make the most of these productivity hacks for business owners and get going towards a brighter future. These changes are going to turn things around for one and all after implementation.

Now it's your turn! What productivity hacks have worked well for you, and which of these hacks do you plan on implementing first?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Leading Where You Want Them To Go: The Top 21 Books For Managers

Top 21 Books to Become a Better Manager

There is a difference between managers and leaders.

Managers oversee people and tell them what to do.  Leaders bring out the best in people and guide or lead them to do their very best. It is possible to learn how to lead and improve your performance as a manager.  There are literally thousands of books written on the subject. For those who are responsible for leading and managing employees, here are the top 21 books for managers. 

1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap and Others Don't This book by Jim Collins answers the question, "How do mediocre companies become great?"  

2. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage - This is the story of Ernest Shackleton and how he led his crew of sailors through a year on the Antarctic Seas and eventually back to safety. 

3. The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of the Meditations -This book presents the thoughts and advice from one of the greatest leaders of all time, Marcus Aurelius.  

4. How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People - This book provides a basic approach to communicating and dealing with people. It explains how to deal with others as they really are, not how you want them to be. 

5. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies - This is a book about visionary companies which endure and stand the test of time. 

6. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - This is one of the most popular books on leadership ever written. In it, the author Stephen R. Covey discusses a principle-centered approach to dealing with professional and personal problems. 

7. Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence - This book reveals insights and lessons on leadership drawn from extensive research on the top companies in the world. 

8. The Art of War - Written more than two thousand years ago, this book is still one of the best ever written on how to lead people and bring them to success. 

9. Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization - This book reveals a glimpse to the leadership principles of one of the greatest coaches in America, John Wooden. 

10. Developing the Leader Within You - Written by a pastor and business leader, John Maxwell, this book describes a biblical foundation for leadership that applies across all facets of life. 

11. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln - This is an awarding winning narrative on how Lincoln won both his party's nomination and eventually the presidency. 

12. Liar's Poker - Liar's Poker is a behind-the-scenes look at the jungle that is Wall Street. 

13. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - Considered by many to be the classical book on the psychology of persuasion, this book explains why people say, "yes" and how to bring them to that point. 

14. True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership - Based on interviews with 25 of the top leaders today, this book provides insights on how those who follow their internal compass can become a truly authentic leader. 

15. Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow - Scientists from Gallup examined decades of research on leadership. This book provides their results and insights into how to be an effective leader.

16. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard - This book examines why it is so difficult to create change - within our lives, our communities, and our companies. 

17. How to Win Friends and Influence People - First released in 1936, the principles defined in this book is still relevant today. 

18. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World - In this book, the author takes a look at the history of money and its impact on society. 

19. The Truth About Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need To Know - Written by two of the world's experts on leadership, this book is based on 30 years of research. 

20. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us - This is a discussion on what truly motivates people and how to get them to want to do their best. 

21. Crucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When States are High - When it comes to important discussions, emotions can flare and nothing gets done. This book discusses how to keep your cool to get what you want. 

These are our top 21 books for managers and are a must read for anyone who wants to be a leader and able to motivate and inspire their employees. There are many more than just these top 21 books for managers, but these are the best place to start. If you're looking for additional tools to make your management workflow run more smoothly, check out Your Next Seven!

Now it's your turn! We want you to tell us what book has influenced you as a leader or manager, and how it made a difference in your management practices!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

15 Essential Tips for Restaurant Managers

Restaurant management tips

15 Essential Tips for Restaurant Managers

Owning and managing a restaurant is a rewarding career, but it presents many unique challenges as well.

Restaurant management is rather unique in that there is so much direct interaction between you, your employees and your customers. Additionally, poor management practices and poor service from your staff is far more apparent to any individual who enters your establishment - you want to make sure that you and your staff are always on your A game!

We come in contact with many restaurant managers through our restaurant shift scheduling software, Your Next Seven.

We’ve listened to our clients and decided to compile a list of 15 essential tips to help you manage your restaurant more efficiently.

1: Always have a plan (and a backup in case that plan fails)

The last thing you want is to be caught unprepared in the middle of a dinner rush. Always make sure that everyone on each shift understands their role, responsibility and what to do if something goes wrong.

You should also prepare for those times when things do go wrong, because they are bound to happen. Make sure you are prepared to fix problems throughout the shift without affecting the quality of your restaurant’s service. If your best cook gets sick in the middle of a shift, you need a plan of action to cover for him.

2: Prioritize communication with your staff and your diners

Communication is invaluable, especially at those times when nothing in your restaurant is going right.

From a customer’s point of view, if the service at your restaurant is being affected by staff difficulties they will at least want to be kept in the loop so that they know when they are getting their food, how you are making up for the inconvenience and that you are aware of the situation.

The same goes for the staff. When things get out of hand your staff needs to know that you are aware of the situation and are working to control it.

3: Know your employees’ strengths, and use them to the fullest

By understanding your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, you can place them in roles that cater to those strengths. Not only will this improve your restaurant service overall, it will make your employees’ work far more enjoyable and they will be eager to provide better service if they feel that they are being given an opportunity to use their strengths to the fullest.

4: Make working at your restaurant fun

No one enjoys working with a stern, overbearing boss.

If your employees find you overbearing, they will be far less motivated to perform well.

Make sure that you have a relaxed but respectful relationship with your employees so that you can make working in your restaurant an enjoyable job. If they feel that they can have fun with their work while using their skills, they will provide the best service possible without you even telling them to.

5: Manage you and your employees’ time wisely

Managing everyone’s time wisely is essential to keep your restaurant running smoothly and ensure that you are not losing money due to poor time management.

Making sure everyone knows their schedule and their task is important, and being able to quickly plan out a schedule and make adjustments on the fly is essential for any restaurant manager.

A great way to keep track of you and your restaurant employee shift schedules is to use a time management application like Your Next Seven.

6: Set quality standards and never compromise them

This rule applies for any restaurant, whether fast food or gourmet dining.

When you start your restaurant, you need to have a clear idea of the quality of food you are serving and then stick to those standards. Make sure your cooks and servers know your food and service standards and stick to them too.

This will ensure that everyone receives quality service and all of your employees have a clear goal in mind for each shift.

7: Create a positive work environment

No one likes to work in a tense environment.

Make each shift fun and engaging if at all possible. Don’t be afraid to have fun with your employees and be friendly with them. The more they feel that you respect them and their opinions, the better service they will provide.

8: Set the example for your restaurant employees

There’s nothing more frustrating than being managed by someone who does not practice what they preach.

When you set standards and policies for your employees, make sure that you follow those policies too. Make sure your employees see you abiding by them and making them a priority in your work.

This will  emphasize the importance of your policies and encourage them to do the same.

9: Be patient with your employees and your customers

Remember when you worked for someone who was impatient and disrespectful all the time?

Don’t be that manager.

If problems arise, sort them out peacefully and respectfully. That’s not to say you should downplay major issues, but being respectful with your employees will avoid a lot of problems and motivate them to perform better overall.

10: Take your service to the next level

When is the last time you left a restaurant and thought “Man! I was impressed with their mediocre service!”


Go out of your way to make the experience in your restaurant amazing. It may be as simple as walking up to each table before they leave and asking how their food was, or talking to them for a brief moment. Often it is little things like this that will make the biggest impression on your customers.

11: Go out of your way to make customers happy

Closely related to #10, if something goes wrong on a customer’s order, go out of your way to make it right.

Give them a discount. Make the meal free. Give them free dessert.

More often than not, people will care more about your response to a mistake than they care about the mistake itself. Go out of your way to make it right and make your diners happy.

12: Learn what motivates your team

Many times there are small things you can do to kick your team into high gear for providing stellar service.

Try running small contests to see who can complete orders the fastest (and with the best looking food), set a prize to see which server can manage tables the best. Give them rewards for great service.

Find out what makes work more fun for your employees, what motivates them to provide the best service possible even on the worst nights.

13: Be consistent with disciplinary action

Unfortunately, things won’t always go smoothly and some rules will be broken.

If an employee has broken a rule, be consistent in dealing out disciplinary action. Don’t play favorites or show that you do not actually enforce the rules.

14: Reward valuable employees

One of the best ways to motivate your employees and encourage a healthier relationship with them is to recognize employees who provide outstanding service.

It doesn’t have to be obvious things, like doing remarkably well at waiting tables during a lunch rush. It might be smaller things, such as that one employee you have who always does a great job cleaning up the kitchen after his shift.

Look for areas that your employees are excelling in, and let them know that you recognize those areas by providing commendation and/or small rewards.

15: Keep good records

This tip isn’t so much focused strictly on restaurant businesses, but any business at all.

Good record keeping is essential for any manager. Keeping accurate records for employee discounts, expenses and income will avoid many frustrations when tax time rolls around.

Additionally, having accurate records will provide you with a valuable set of data that you can then use over time to make adjustments in your restaurant so as to improve overall performance and quality of service.

Do you have any management tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below! Also tell us which one of the above tips you found the most useful, and how you intend to apply it.