Monday, January 25, 2016

11 Soft Skills Every Manager Must Develop [Infographic]

11 ways to become a better manager

Managers have a tough job. They have a lot on their plate when it comes to both their own tasks and managing and helping employees, and their job takes a lot of skill. So how does one become a truly effective manager?

Effectiveness as a manager cannot be achieved through hard skills alone, like learning Excel. Becoming an effective manager requires a lot of soft skills - learning to manage and motivate people as well as yourself, learning to resolve problems with customers and employees in a mutually beneficial way, and more.

Here we will cover the 11 most important soft skills any manager needs to develop. We’ve included a handy infographic with this post that you can save to your computer and review every so often, or share with a friend or colleague who might find it useful.

Let’s dive in!

11 Soft Skills Every Manager Must Develop Infographic

1: Effective communication

Communication is critical to every aspect of a manager’s job. Being able to listen carefully to employee’s and customer’s thoughts, opinions and complaints is important in order to continue improving your business’s service. It is equally important to learn how you can convey your own thoughts in a clear, non-inflammatory and logical way so that your peers can understand your direction and advice.

2: Time management

Time management is another skill that often goes unnoticed. As a manager, you are responsible for keeping the wheels and gears of the business turning. If you cannot manage your own time or your employees time efficiently, productivity (and profits) will drop like a rock. Thankfully there are many tools you can use to manage you and your employee’s time more effectively. Tools like Google Calendar or Your Next Seven make it easy to keep everyone informed of what needs to happen and when.

3: Control of body language

If you are in a bad mood and cannot control your body language, your employees and customers will know it. It will make you unapproachable, cutting off communication with the people around you and preventing you from really understanding current problems. This adds up to you being uninformed and incapable of performing well, thanks to not having all of the necessary information.

4: Effective delegation

You cannot do all of the work yourself. At some point, you have to trust your employees to do their jobs and let them take care of things for you. Learning to delegate effectively can be difficult, especially if you are very particular about how things are done. But learning to delegate often and well will save you a lot of time, stress and money.

5: *Constructive* criticism

Criticism is essential to the success of any business. It is the only way employees will ever really know to improve their performance. The important thing here is to make criticism constructive and beneficial to the employee. Simply berating someone because they did not do their job correctly does not solve the problem and de-motivates them to do better next time. Instead, learn to calmly explain why their performance is an issue, and offer suggestions on how they could improve.

6: A results-oriented attitude

Those in a position of authority often find it difficult to yield to other’s opinions and methods. Remember though that your end goal is to grow the business - not to prove that you were right. Cultivating a results-oriented attitude will allow you to focus on outcomes rather than methods. This prevents you from insisting on doing things your way, when an employee may indeed have a better idea.

7: Willingness to learn

Assuming that you are right 100% of the time is the surest way to prove that you are not, in fact, always right. Recognize that other people may have knowledge that you do not possess, and be eager to learn from those with more experience. A willingness to learn allows you to adapt and refine your management skills and continually become a better leader for your team.

8: Willingness and desire to teach

This goes hand-in-hand with constructive criticism. Being unwilling to teach your employees in a kind way stunts their growth and prevents your team from really achieving success. Being eager and willing to share your knowledge with your employees makes you more approachable, and contributes to the continued success of your employees.

9: Unbiased critical thinking

Being able to step back and view a problem objectively is important in management. If you constantly allow your decisions and logic to be colored by your own emotions, you will never really be sure that you are making choices that will provide the most benefit to the company. You may actually be making choices that just showcase your own personality and skills, or choices that merely cover up a mistake.

10: Proper social etiquette

Proper etiquette and common courtesy go a long way toward a healthy and happy relationship with your customers and employees. Small, polite gestures can make a world of difference in your customer service and management. Being polite and kind to the individuals you come into contact with will make people enjoy being around you more and will make you a more approachable manager.

11: Objective and constructive self-criticism

In order to improve your management skills, you will need to be able to really look at yourself and understand where you need improvement. At that point, you need to look at those issues objectively and say ‘Okay, now what can I do to fix this weakness?’ Learning to critique your own skills and personality in a constructive and objective manner will contribute to your continued success as a manager.

Call to action!

Which of these skills do you appreciate most in a boss or manager? Which one do you think you most need to improve on? Let us know in the comments section below!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top 7 Must-Have Restaurant WebApps for 2016

Woman in cafe using her mobile phone

Every year a slew of new web applications are released to help business owners and employees alike to become more productive. Thanks to these advances we now have a wide array of tools that help us to work better, work faster, or just work less.

Which ones do you actually need though?

In this article we will be covering the top 15 must-have web apps for your restaurant in 2016. Some of these services are brand new, others have been around for years. Regardless of their age though, they are guaranteed to improve your workflow and save you and your restaurant money.

1: Locu

Locu is an all-in-one solution for getting your restaurant listed in local business directories, review sites, local Facebook groups and more. For a low monthly fee this GoDaddy-owned service will keep your restaurant information, address, menu and more updated across all major directories, groups and review sites.

2: Buffer or Hootsuite

By now everyone knows that pictures of food are pretty popular on social media sites like Instagram and Twitter. Why not take advantage of that and have photos of your restaurant’s best dishes posted to your social media accounts?

Buffer and Hootsuite both provide easy management of multiple social media accounts. Post across several accounts simultaneously, schedule posts and manage mentions and more. These webapps help you increase local awareness for your restaurant and get more customers in the door.

3: An online shift calendar like Your Next Seven

One of the top management time wasters for restaurants and other establishments is having to manually schedule employee shifts either on paper or in an Excel spreadsheet.

An online shift calendar like Your Next Seven helps you recover all of that lost time. Online shift calendar apps like Your Next Seven allow you to create, manage and edit employee shift schedules. Online shift calendars also allow your employees to check their schedules from their phone, request time off, and pick up extra shifts that have been dropped.

All of this adds up to a massive amount of time saved for your managers, and a massive amount of money saved for you. Online shift calendars reduce the amount of time your managers spend on scheduling shifts, contacting employees, answering questions about shift schedules and rearranging shift schedules for time off requests.

4: OpenTable

OpenTable allows it’s users to make reservations with local restaurants online. Getting your restaurant listed on OpenTable helps you to fill all of your tables more consistently and keep customers coming in the door even on slow nights.

5: FoodSpotting

FoodSpotting gives users pictures of each dish on your menu and shows potential diners where to find your restaurant. This gives people in your local area a clear idea of the kind of food you serve and the quality of your restaurant’s food.

By making good use of FoodSpotting you can bring in lots of hungry customers who are excited to try your newest and most renowned foods.

6: AppCoco

Do you wish your restaurant had a mobile app, but don’t have money to pay for one to be developed? AppCoco is the answer to your prayers.

For just $20 per month, AppCoco will allow you to create a fully functional mobile app for your restaurant. The app takes less than an hour to create, is instantly available and gives customers easy access to your menu and online ordering.

7: ChowNow

ChowNow allows you to easily create an online ordering form that you can embed in your existing website, your Facebook page or a mobile app.

ChowNow is a push-button solution to online ordering for your restaurant and handles all payments for you.

If 2016 is your year to grow your local restaurant, you can be sure that using even one of these webapps will catapult your restaurant to success.

Call to action:

Which one of these webapps do you plan on using? Which ones have you used before and why did you like them? Tell us in the comments!

Monday, January 11, 2016

How an Online Shift Calendar Puts $82,352 in Your Pocket

How an Online Shift Calendar Saves You Money

As software and technology advance, developers are constantly finding new ways to make our lives easier.

Thankfully these advances do not affect only our personal lives - there are myriads of online tools, apps and software that can make our professional lives easier too. This can include invoicing and budgeting tools, cloud storage and as we will be discussing today, online shift calendars.

What makes online shift calendars superior to spreadsheets or printed calendars?

Most modern business owners are aware of the rising popularity of online shift calendars like Your Next Seven.

Shift calendars like Your Next Seven make it easier to create and manage schedules, notify employees of their upcoming shift times on the calendar, and even lets employees drop and pick up shifts on the fly. This results in hundreds of hours of saved time for your managers, and by extension massive savings for your business.

How much money can an online shift calendar save you, though?


These are the, real-time statistics of the amount of time business owners have saved by using our online shift calendar as of January 8th, 2016.

If you pay your managers $12 per hour, that means that business owners have saved $82,352 by using Your Next Seven.

What could your business do with an extra $82,000 in the bank?

Let’s take it a step further though. Let’s take an in-depth look at all of the ways the Your Next Seven online shift calendar can save your business massive amounts of money this year.

1: Shift calendar software gives employees easier access to their schedules

Most shift calendar software allows employees to access their shift schedule via email, computer or mobile phone. This makes it much easier for them to check and verify their schedule without taking up your manager’s time with extra phone calls.

2: By removing confusion from your shift schedule, your manager handles fewer calls about shift times

Another benefit of an online shift calendar is that when employees are unsure about their schedule, they don’t have to call your manager or you to check what times they are scheduled for. Again this leads to less of your manager’s time being wasted playing phone tag with other employees.

3: Online shift calendars notify employees of their schedules for you

Another benefit of an online shift calendar is that when you create the schedule for the week or month, you can have the software automatically notify your employees either by email or text or both. This can save a lot of time in contacting employees and ensuring that they all have their schedule for the upcoming period.

4: A user friendly interface speeds up the process of scheduling shifts for your calendar

Scheduling shifts in Excel can work, but it’s typically very time consuming to use tools like Excel to schedule your employee’s shifts because these tools simply aren’t designed to be used as shift scheduling software. Using tools that are designed for the task that have a user-friendly interface makes the entire process of scheduling shifts much less frustrating and less time consuming.

5: Shift calendar services can handle time off requests and allow employees to pick up released shifts

Handling time off requests and dropped shifts (especially around spring break) can be a real problem for managers. Re-organizing and scheduling dropped shifts can take up a massive amount of time.

Using an online shift calendar, you can manage time off requests more easily and allow other employees to pick up dropped shifts whenever they want.

6: An online shift calendar contributes to smoother operations for your business

One of the biggest benefits of using an online shift calendar is simply that it reduces the amount of work that you and your managers have to take care of. All of the above benefits contribute to an overall smoother management process that requires less time and effort from you and your managers.

Using online shift calendars allows you to focus less on the minutiae of managing employees and focus more on what you love - running your business.