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5 Easy Tips to Streamline Your Excel Experience

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I don’t think it’s any secret that I use Excel for nearly EVERYTHING! From sorting data to keeping track of financials, I think Excel is a perfect tool for so many office tasks. But, it is also a seriously underutilized tool by many business professionals. I got to thinking about it - yes, I think about this stuff in my free time! - and, I think one of the main reasons that Excel isn’t used more for various professional tasks is because people are afraid of it. Sure, they know how to put together a basic spreadsheet to add up a column or two of numbers. But, many people who have never had formal training find the software cumbersome and intimidating. The prospect that it could actually  make their daily chores more efficient  is not even on their radar. But, Excel can truly help streamline your office or business. Try incorporating a few “magic” tricks to help you bolster some confidence and use this tool like a pro! Learn some keyboard shortcuts.   Stopping every few minutes to access

Millennials Drop the "F" Bomb: Flexibility

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Choosing when to start your work day. Opting to work from your home office. Meeting with the board through a virtual conference call when your kid is sick. Sounds pretty perfect, right? And, it may sound like a fantasy world to many employers. But, the fact of the matter is that many millennial employees are asking why these aspects of employment can’t be part of their regular work routines. Currently, members of the millennial generation outnumber all others and are major influencers in the work force. They are speaking up loud and clear about the things they want. And, number one on their list is flexibility. But, how can more flexibility be incorporated into a standard work environment? And, why are millennials so intent on finding increased flexibility, unlike anything available to past generations of workers? Work/Life Balance They witnessed their parents struggle to move from one-worker families to two-worker families. Trying to juggle all responsibilities of working and raising

The 3 Worst Ways Your Bad Processes Impact Customers

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Only you and your employees know about the bad processes that are slowing down your business, right? While you may assume that nobody else knows about your dirty little secret, it’s very likely that it reveals itself in a number of ways that affect your customers. Unfortunately, a single bad process has far-reaching implications. Take note of the three worst ways your flawed system impacts your customers: Poor customer service : It’s hard to deliver stellar customer service when your employees are bogged down with clunky processes and systems . When employees are consistently distracted by cumbersome invoicing systems, difficult point-of-purchase processes or other chores that take their attention, they don’t have time or focus to make customers happy. Eliminate this problem by fixing processes that don’t work well. Streamline tasks so that they are easy for employees to do, don’t take extreme mental focus and allow them the chance to make an effort to provide excellent customer servic

Business Junk Drawer Items to Deal with NOW

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Every business owner has a business “junk drawer.” A business junk drawer contains all of the tasks, chores, problems, issues, etc. that cause you worry, but you just don’t have the time to deal with, at the moment. Clunky invoicing systems, ways of addressing customer feedback or human relations issues may find spots in your junk drawer, among many other chores that nobody in your office likes doing. But, as they sit in that “drawer,” the problems usually get bigger and bigger, eventually causing significant problems as they start affecting your bottom line. While some tasks can sit in limbo for a bit without hurting anything, others need to be dealt with NOW! Take action on items related to: Financial anything -- Whether it’s your invoicing system or your accounts payable processes, these functions are essential to the success of your business. Any tasks that directly affect your bottom line can’t stay in your business junk drawer. Leaving them there is like proverbially putting y

Those Damn Millennials: Why Won’t They Just Do Their Jobs?

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                   There’s a lot of grumbling going on around the world about those “damn” millennials. Employers wonder why they won’t just do their jobs and stop complaining about Every. Little. Thing! But, typically, there’s a generational and communication gap between millennial workers and their supervisors. Beyond these gaps, what are employers to do with these lazy subordinates of theirs? My business is based on creating more efficient workflows and systems that produce results with reduced chance of error. (Also, for full disclosure: I’m a millennial, myself. But, just barely!) So, I can identify with many traits that have been used to describe this generational group: I like change, I want flexibility and I need respect.  What is a millennial? According to Wikipedia, who always has the answers (lol!), demographers and researchers generally categorize individuals into the millennial generation by birthdates starting in the early 1980s. Ending birth years range from the mid 199

Loyalty: A Trait “Lost” on the Millennials

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As the second post in my series about those “damn” millennials, I feel I should address, yet, another of their weaknesses: their lack of loyalty.  You know, as I look at today’s work force, I realize that it’s true. Millennials really don’t have the loyalty that young employees did 50 years ago. People went to work for a company at a young age, grew with their jobs and retired many years later. They went to work everyday, day in and day out. They knew their organizations inside out. But, the reality of that occurring today is nearly impossible. And, here’s why: Corporate Layoffs Large corporations frequently implement layoffs as reactions to the ever-fluctuating economy. I have a friend (an “old” millennial, like me) who is going through his third (yes, THIRD!) round of layoffs. He is employed in the IT space working for medical device companies. He’s a hard worker with a family, but he keeps finding himself job hopping to just stay employed, by no fault of his own. He’s never had the

Why Your Processes are NOT Just More Red Tape

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Getting past the misconceptions of your employees about all of the “red tape” you are making them endure is challenging, at times. As you strive to implement processes or systems that will automate and alleviate menial tasks, they perceive your efforts as forcing them to jump through more hoops. So, what do you do? How do you get them to see past the guidelines and envision the big picture? Understand the Difference Between Red Tape and Successful Processes The first hurdle you have to make it over to convince your employees that your systems are not just more time-consuming busy work is helping them to understand the difference between red tape and success processes. The concept of red tape goes back hundreds of years ago when governments used red ribbons to bind important legal documents. It, eventually, came to be known as bureaucratic waste that causes a task to take considerably longer than required and rarely succeeds in meeting goals. The tasks may require a lot of unnecessary