Sales Lessons Learned From Golf

October 22, 2014 Leave a comment

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Planning A Corporate Event To Remember

October 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Planning a great corporate event is time-consuming. Make your investment work for you by giving your attendees an event that inspires, motivates, and engages. Regardless of its size, any company can host a successful corporate event to promote its brand, motivate its employees, and attract new customers. For example, an online magazine may wish to boost its marketing efforts by throwing an event at a related venue. These sites can include a historic building or an industry-related location such as a classic car showroom or a tech museum. Additionally, your corporate event can reach a new level by highlighting a keynote speaker who can add value, expertise, and innovation to the attendees’ experience. While your imagination is the limit when choosing a theme, savvy planners take advantage of emerging trends to create a memorable and successful event.

Plan an Experience, Not Just a Meeting

With the exception of new hires fresh out of college, most professionals have attended at least one corporate event. Over the years, these meetings may have become predictable events with little new to offer its attendees. Even if the subject matter is new, its impact is muted when attendees spend the entire conference in a hotel ballroom, peering at a PowerPoint presentation while drinking coffee.

One tourism board in the U.K. reports that the country’s many historic structures are popular sites for corporate events. These include sweeping cathedrals and castles, lending an exotic sensibility to an unforgettable conference. Other memorable sites for team-building exercises include outdoor venues such as beaches, wildlife parks, and survival programs.

Hire a Compelling Guest Speaker

Regardless of your industry, a vibrant guest speaker can energize and engage your attendees. The ideal keynote speaker does not need to be an industry expert. Often, a speaker from outside your business sector can spark a reaction from the attendees in a way that an insider cannot. Professional speakers are able to make a variety of presentations that can motivate the audience, challenge their assumptions, and inspire them. For example, you may hire a speaker who can address adversity, conflict resolution, customer relations, and time management. Other relevant subject areas include persuasion, ethics and integrity, life balance, and mentoring.

Your industry may not relate to shrimp boats, but a talented speaker who is able to use life lessons from the movie, “Forrest Gump,” can bring a fresh perspective to the event. Likewise, an Air Force pilot who survived an ejection into the ocean can inspire an audience of telecommunications professionals with a narrative of persistence and resilience. The sky can be the limit in selecting a guest speaker who engages, inspires, and motivates your conference attendees.

If your schedule and budget allows, look for speakers who can offer one or more auxiliary presentations in addition to their keynote address. When your attendees connect with a speaker, an additional presentation on another day injects a sense of anticipation and continuity into the conference.

Break from Tradition

Holding a corporate event at a hotel or conference center may be an expensive proposition. Every aspect of the meeting might be costly, from coffee and meal service, wireless Internet, and a hefty gratuity. Many event planners mitigate the cost of a conference by selling sponsorships to related entities. These sponsorships typically result in a conference room full of banners or an attendee packet filled with colorful flyers trying to out-neon the others. A few innovative and effective sponsorship ideas that can attract the attendees’ attention include:

  • Event apps with sponsored splash pages, banner ads, or show schedules. Be sure you don’t overdo it and have sufficient bandwidth to handle the app traffic. Perhaps a company can sponsor a code that enables the user to access faster connections to improve their user experience.
  • Event sponsors can underwrite the cost of Wi-Fi service within the venue, placing their corporate logo on a handout with the login code as well as ensuring the logo appears on the login page. Sponsored connectivity services also reduce the planner’s budget, boosting attendance and making it more affordable.
  • Industries that require its professionals to maintain a polished appearance can include sponsorship of a portrait photographer and a makeup artist, giving attendees free head shots. These professional portraits add gravitas to professional profiles, website bios, and LinkedIn profiles.

Event planners can present bundled sponsorships, allowing the sponsors to maintain a continual and useful presence throughout the event. These opportunities include blogs, white papers, webcasts, a prominent place on the event’s website, and placement on video walls.

No longer are corporate events a week-long snooze-fest fueled by bad coffee and lit by hotel ballroom lighting. Make your event a memorable one with fresh, uncommon indoor and outdoor venues; a compelling guest speaker to add value and variety to the schedule; and corporate sponsorships that involve and engage your attendees. While some events are mandatory for many employees, optional events will perish or flourish depending on what you offer attendees in exchange for their investment of time and money.

The story was originally published in Small Biz Daily .

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

3 Simple Ways To Build Great Customer Relationships

Organizations with great customer relationships are able to grow their businesses without gimmicks, fee cuts or special treatment. You have to be good at what you do, of course, but having a truly successful business is based on one simple concept: trust.

With trust, you’ll have customers (or clients) for life. Without trust, you may as well pack up and go home.

Building trust takes time and a lot of hard work. But it’s entirely doable if you and your teamwork on three of your most important core competencies: service, consistency and transparency.

Great Service Matters
According to a Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now survey, when customers trust a brand, 83 percent will recommend a trusted company to others and 82 percent will continue to use that brand frequently. While hardly anyone talks about the time you went above and beyond for a customer, you’ll certainly hear from the disgruntled ones if you failed to make a deadline or delivered a product that didn’t do what you had promised.

Earning a customer’s trust starts with giving great service. How would you want to be treated if you were a customer? The reality is that service should come naturally, instead of being strategically planned. The more you plan for great service, the less time you’ll spend delivering it.

Sure, there will be times when you’ve tried your best and can’t seem to make any headway with a particular problem. But you want to strive for responsiveness, timeliness and exceeded expectations.

Consistency Breeds Harmony
Consistency goes hand in hand with providing great service. Internal expectations lead to external results.

From a business perspective, consistency applies to every aspect of what you do:

  • Your employees should provide equivalent levels of service.
  • Equipped with the tools they need, your sales team should answers questions the same way.
  • You should stay the course with your products and services, rather than constantly shifting gears to try new tactics or initiatives.
  • Create meaningful measurement to determine whether something is working. If it isn’t viable, you should have a plan in place to make changes.
  • Consistency puts your money where you mouth is within your organization. From a leadership perspective, consistent performance shows employees what you expect from them. For example, if you miss a meeting without a good reason, don’t be surprised if they do the same.

Transparency Is Clear
Transparency is another competency that should come naturally. Yet so many businesses have trouble coming to terms with what it really means.

Customers and clients are smart. They know when you’re being up front or when they are told a mistruth. If honesty is the best policy, they’ll appreciate and admire you more when you admit to a mistake, rather than playing games or even worse, avoiding the topic altogether.

Don’t try to hide or cover up your errors. Address the issue directly, explain how you will handle it and share what steps are being taken to prevent the errors from occurring in the future. To implement transparency effectively, lead by example. Your employees will also admire you more for your honesty.

Sealing the Deal
Maintaining solid business relationships does not mean your customers or clients have to like you. Everyone wants to be liked. But creating customers and clients for life is more about them trusting you to deliver on your promises. It takes effort, but in the end your hard work will pay off again and again, with repeat business, more referrals and personal peace of mind, knowing you met and exceeded your customers’ expectations.

The story was originally published in Small Business Center.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

5 Ways To Put More Welleness Into The Workplace

In recent years, workplace design has centered on creating hip, collaborative spaces with more open offices and flexible space to promote innovation and evolution within the companies that operate there. But the next wave of workplace design is promoting something arguably even more important: employee wellness.

One of the ways designers are facilitating healthier environments in corporate office space is through the subtle but thoughtful use of active design, where trash cans are built in to places that require employees to walk, or the eating area is purposefully designed with a staircase to access it. Other wellness options may be more obvious, such as incorporating more natural light into a space, having windows that open, or a gym.

Here are five other ways that designers are changing office spaces to make room for important wellness-focused amenities:

  1. Standing desks: “Sitting is the new smoking” and causes many long-term health related problems. In fact, according to a recent study by Ergotron, 67 percent of Americans hate sitting at work and 85 percent take breaks from sitting for symptom relief. Furthermore, 96 percent would be willing to stand more to improve their health or life expectancy. Adding standing and conference furniture throughout an office gives people the option to stand while continuing to work.
  2. Outdoor space: Even in colder climates, it’s important to encourage employees to get some fresh air and go for a walk. In many suburban locations, corporate office parks are looking for ways to establish walking paths, which can be great for employees but also a means to brand or connect several buildings on a campus. Walking paths not only encourage exercise, but provide new venues to hold group brainstorms. Another option is incorporating patio space adjacent to ground-floor conference rooms, so that meetings can spill outside, while fostering collaboration, creativity and a more exciting office culture.
  3. Showers: While gyms are a highly sought-after amenity, showers are even more important, especially in urban locations where employees may be likely to ride their bikes to work. Of course, having a place to safely store a bike is also key.
  4. Wellness/Mother’s rooms: A special room for mothers to breast feed is not only a considerate amenity that may encourage a woman to return to work, but one that is more sanitary and comfortable than the typical backup option of pumping in bathrooms. In some states such as Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, Tennessee, and more, providing a proper place for women to breastfeed is becoming a requirement or strongly encouraged as a way to promote wellness not just for moms, but for their babies. Wellness rooms offer staff time and space to escape from the main office.
  5. Green building materials: Transparency about the chemicals that comprise building materials takes wellness a step further. This site, Transparency, shows people what building products are made of and whether or not they are bad for humans, animals and the environment as a whole. Clients are then informed of alternatives so they can make conscious decisions for the future wellness of their workplace. This keeps wellness front of mind for people and their families who come to work every day in a healthy and safe environment.

As people become more concerned with their own wellness, it makes sense that the place people spend the majority of their day adjusts to promote a healthy lifestyle. Architects and designers are listening; they’re incorporating thoughtful amenities into the future workplace design so that we can all be healthier. Ultimately, a healthier workplace is happier and more productive which benefits both employees and employers.

The story was originally published in Work Design Magazine.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

How Often Do You Unplug?

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Here’s a chart that’s both surprising and unsurprising.

People in the United States rarely unplug from gadgets according to a survey by CivicScience. As you can see, 43% of those polled say they never unplug. And 17% say a few times a year.

CivicScience seems to have cast a very wide net for its definition of “unplug” with TV, internet, smartphones, etc. counting.

For what it’s worth, I would say I never unplug entirely. I always check the internet even when I’m on vacation. I enjoy it. I like seeing what’s going on in the world. I don’t check email as much, but that’s about it. It doesn’t stress me out too much, unless I see the wrong email.

Anyway, what about you? Do you unplug, do you feel like you need to, or even want to?

Unplug

The story was originally published in the Business Insider.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

4 Things You Thought Were True About Time Management

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t struggle with how to make the most of their time at work. How do you stay on top of an overflowing inbox? How do you get work done when your day is taken up by meetings? How can you get through a continually expanding to-do list? How do you even find time to make a list in the first place?

To make matters worse, there are lots of misconceptions about what time management really comes down to and how to achieve it. Let’s look at some of the most common suggestions and assess whether they’re actually true.

It’s about managing your time. False.

Time management is a misnomer, says Jordan Cohen, a productivity expert and author of “Make Time for the Work That Matters.” He says that it’s really about productivity: “We have to get away from labeling it ‘time management’. It’s not about time per se but about how productive you can be.” He likens it to the difference between dieting and being healthy. “You can diet all you want,” he says, “but you won’t necessarily be healthier.” In the same way, you can pay close attention to how you spend your time, manage your email, etc., but you won’t necessarily be more productive.

Teresa Amabile, the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and coauthor of The Progress Principle, whose expertise in this area comes from reading thousands of work diaries of workers who documented their struggles to get work done, says it’s more about managing your overall workload. Many managers simply take on too much. “If you don’t keep an eye on the commitments you’ve made or are making, there is no time management technique that’s going to solve that,” she says. Sure, this might be an organization-level problem — many managers overload their team members ­— but she says that most professionals have more control over their workload than they might admit. “It is possible to say no. It is possible to negotiate,” she says. Cohen agrees: “While your schedule may not be yours per se, you can be judicious about what you go to and how you manage it.”

You just need to find the right system or approach. False.

“Having a system can be useful, but it takes more than that,” says Amabile. “And what works for each person, like spending an hour and a half on focused work at the beginning of the day, will not necessarily work for another person.” The key is to continually experiment with techniques. “Some things may or may not work in a particular context or situation,” says Cohen. Try lots of different approaches — really try them. Don’t change the way you check email for a week and declare it a failure. Set metrics for measuring success, give the approach time, and consider involving someone else — your boss or a coworker — to help you evaluate whether it really worked.

You need to devote time to change. Somewhat true.

One person I spoke to said her biggest challenge was finding time to put time management systems into place. She didn’t have the day or two she felt she needed to set aside. Amabile says this may not be necessary: “Small tweaks can make a big difference. The best approach is to start out with a few small things. Progress in this context might mean that you find yourself with some additional time each day when you can reflect and think. Even if it’s just an additional 20 or 30 minutes each day, that’s progress.” But it depends on how bad your situation is and how desperate you feel. Amabile mentioned one person who decided to use her vacation week for a major overhaul to achieve less stress. She looked at how she was using her time, her level of commitments, and experimented with a few techniques that people had suggested. “She felt things had gotten so out of control that she wanted to give herself this gift. But that was an extreme measure that was necessitated by the extreme situation,” says Amabile.

It’s up to you — and only you — to get it right. Somewhat true.

This may be partly true. “There is no one who’s responsible for how productive you are,” says Cohen. In that sense, this rests on your shoulders. He is clear: “You’re expected to be productive, so you better take this puppy on yourself.” But Cohen and Amabile both say you can’t do it alone. “If you’re in an organization where there are pressures for immediate responses or turnarounds on all requests or there is no room for any kind of slack, it’s very tough to do time management on your own,” says Amabile. She points to Leslie Perlow’s research about small tweaks you can make in any work environment. Still, it may be tough. “Organizations unknowingly put a lot of barriers in front of you to get your work done — unclear strategy and clumsy processes, to name just a few,” Cohen says.

If this sounds like your company, Amabile suggests you make attempts to change the culture. “I would urge people to push back in ways that they believe will be effective,” she says. Raise questions like, “How can we be more productive around here?” This can often be more effective than focusing on getting out of your own bind. “You have a responsibility to push back on the organization,” she says. Cohen also thinks it’s worth talking with senior management, because it’s often bigger than any single manager. “It requires a redesign of how work gets done, where decisions get made, how they get made. There’s only so much that a system can take,” he says.

For the lone professional, getting control over your workload and schedule is daunting. But knowing the difference between what people say will work and what actually does may be the first step in the right direction.

The story was originally published in the Harvard Business Review.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Workplace Design Trends To Increase Your Productivity

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Creating paths for chance meetings, including nooks, and designing agile, unique workspaces are solutions that designers say promote collaboration, creativity, and productivity in the modern office.

“In the last four to five years, we’ve all been focusing on sustainability and the impact technology has in an office,” says Kay Sargent, director of workplace strategies at infrastructure solutions provider Lend Lease. “During this time, we’ve forgotten that we’re designing for people. Now there’s a real focus on trying to maximize human potential, performance, and productivity.”

But what is productivity? It’s no longer about sitting at your desk with your head down working all day.

“I think of [productivity] as effectively creating ideas and solving problems and a lot of that has to do with being collaborative,” says Miguel McKelvey, cofounder and chief creative officer of coworking office space WeWork.

To help employees come up with their next great idea, McKelvey and Sargent provide the most current trends in workspace designs:

CREATE PATHS FOR CHANCE MEETINGS

In the past, people used to have to sit at their desks if they needed to answer emails, but today, anyone can do that–or any other work–from anywhere. This means that, from a creative perspective, it’s no longer necessary to make sure people are at their desks at all time.

“It’s more crucial to make sure people are connecting and brainstorming with each other,” says McKelvey, who leads design and architecture at WeWork.

“We’re very specific when we’re drawing work plans. We think about the chances of when a person gets off the elevator where they will go,” he says. “We think about how people get to a coffee machine, when they go and get their lunch, when they go to the bathroom.”

The chance encounters are necessary to increase familiarity and to hopefully create conversations that lead to solutions.

Sargent, former vice president of architecture and design at furniture manufacturer Teknion, says there is a popularity now for designs that help people move.

“There’s a huge movement now to design for human potential … for intellectual and emotional intelligence,” she says. “We see staircases are now designed to be in the center of offices and not in the back as exits.” This is because designers have realized that there are several chance encounters that could happen as people pass one another on stairs, simply going to and from their desks.

INCLUDE NOOKS NEAR COMMON AREAS

The best-case scenario when people run into each other is that brilliant conversations spark, resulting in innovative solutions. This is exactly why you should include nooks–areas where people can go and maintain some privacy–around these common areas and paths.

“When you start a conversation when you’re at the coffee machine, you can quickly sit down after and have a 20-minute meeting,” says McKelvey. “If you have to reserve a conference room to finish that conversation, then you lose time. It’s not efficient.”

McKelvey advises to put these nooks adjacent to social places, such as areas for eating, coffee, or printing.

BUILD CONFERENCE ROOMS DIRECTLY IN COMMON AREAS

Instead of the boring walls that usually put people to sleep, glass walls in the middle of a busy area can help keep the mind awake.

“Your mind is being spiked by the activity that’s swirling around,” says McKelvey. The downside is that this could be a problem for people who have issues concentrating.

INCLUDE BOOTHS FOR PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS

With the popularity of open floor plans, “it’s certainly important for people to have a sense of privacy,” says McKelvey. “People need a space that they can go to make a conference or Skype call.”

“It’s important to create those spaces and create a company culture that supports those spaces.” In other words, you don’t want to have a culture where the boss is always asking why someone isn’t at their desk.

People need to feel like they can go to a private area for a phone call or simply to work uninterrupted if they need to.

CREATE AN AGILE WORKSPACE

“We’re designing spaces today where every employee doesn’t have to sit in a specific spot,” says Sargent. “Rather than going to sit in one desk all day, it could be that I’ll start working at a bench, then I’ll go to a more quiet space for head-down concentration, then I’ll go to the social hub because I want to connect with my co-workers. We’ve moved beyond traditional offices to agile design.”

Sargent says agile designs make more sense because it feels more comfortable for employees. If you have a house, you go to the space designed for the task at hand instead of having to sit in one spot all day. This increases your movement, and creates an agile environment where people have choices, more control, and power.

“We still need to conquer how to control distractions. You can’t control all distractions, but you can get up and move.”

HAVE ADJUSTABLE DESKS AND CONFERENCE TABLES

Research shows that sitting too much is harmful to our health and employers should be concerned about the health of their biggest asset: their employees.

The solution to this problem is the adjustable desk, which is said to be a healthier alternative and can help people feel more alert throughout the day.

“Desks need to be in sync with our natural movements,” says Sargent. “If I want to stand, I should be able to stand and if I want to sit, I should be able to sit.”

Sargent says desks today should be able to adjust to any height and conference tables should do the same since research also shows that standing meetings keep groups more engaged and less territorial than sitting meetings.

The story was originally published on the website Fast Company.

 

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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