Tag Archives: Leading

7 Good Excuses To Spend Your Company Money

7 Good Excuses To Spend Your Company Money

In the world of small business where we don’t have the luxury of multi million dollar operating expense budgets, we have learned to pay close attention to where every dollar goes, what are the “need to have’s” versus  the “nice to have’s”. Because of this chronic cost consciousness, what owners and managers often miss is that there are a few expenses that not only justify their existence in their annual P&Ls but generate an intangible return on investment that impacts all business functions.

I am talking about having fun! Think about extraordinary team building activities that will blow your employees away. There is no faster way to build camaraderie and teach real life lessons of success, failure, humility, teamwork, perseverance, focus, planning and strategy than actually engaging in activities that require them. So here are a few of my favorites:

1. Take them to a gun range – Say what!? Yes that’s right, a gun range. Obviously if you employ people that, eehemm, wouldn’t be allowed in a gun range then this would not work.  Assuming you have a team with no criminal record or other issues, this is a great team building activity. Many people love going to the range on their own, so this is a good chance to take them to the range and let them show off. Many times there is a person that always wanted to go but never had anyone to go with so they never did (they generally will be the most excited). I recommend having competitions and prizes for “best shooting”, “rookie of the year” (for the newbies) and “most improved” for the guy or gal that is horrible at the beginning but gets better. Your team will love this out of the box activity and create great memories.

2. Sailing – Sailing is a great way to build teamwork. If you live anywhere near the water, taking your team on a sailboat and learning how to catch the wind and take off can be exhilarating.  If you have a few people that actually know how to sail you may want to consider renting Hobie cats, dividing your team up and having a race.  It’s pretty simple, just assign a Captain for each boat (usually the guy that knows how to sail), let them pick their teams and off you go. The winning team gets free lunch and beer  after the race paid for by the losing team or teams!

3. Mud Run – Mud runs are one of the most popular races today. They are fun, dirty and create great memories. The best part about it is that the whole team gets motivated to work out during the weeks leading up to the race, which is never a bad thing.  With the way insurance rates are going through the roof, keeping a fit and healthy team is always a bonus. Again, it is always a good idea to hook the winner up with something afterwards, even if it’s just a beer.

4. Paintball – The first time I took my team paint balling, I was worried some of the ladies would not take to kindly to being shot at.  Boy was I wrong! Not only did everyone love going to war with each other for bragging rights, but the most fanatical competitors where the ladies!   They ate it up and wanted more when we were done. Since then I try to have at least one or two paint ball outings a year and they have never failed me yet.

5. Go Skiing – Every company has leaders and this is a “leader” activity. Even Jesus had his special 3 apart from the 12 and so should you.  Money permitting, I like to take my leaders skiing because it’s the best way to show them they mean a lot to me. If you rely on people to make your business go, then you will have to do more than give them a bonus twice a year to keep them loyal. The key to keeping good employees is doing things for  your people they wouldn’t normally do for themselves. 

6. Four wheeling – There are many places that do guided ATV tours with either go cart style vehicles with roll cages or 4 wheeling ATV’s.  This is another one of those activities that’s a lot of fun but is not something many people would ever do on their own. Nothing bonds a team faster than getting dirty and muddy together!

7. Beach Rental – Renting a house on the beach will help your stressed out team unwind and relax. Personally when I do this I tell them to go ahead and bring their significant other but unless they are married they have to sleep in separate rooms. If I’m paying I make the rules! I’ve never had a problem with this and it keeps things professional even while relaxing on the beach and letting life’s worries pass by you

I have never felt like spending on fun, coupled with some strategic planning or plain old bonding was a waste of money. What usually happens is everyone goes back motivated, more inclined to go out of their way and help another team member even if they do not have to, or just more pumped up to work and be part of a winning team. If you stay consistent and learn to practice this wisely, you will see your bottom line grow slowly but surely. Work hard and play hard, it will never get old.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

Author’s Note: Watch out for a follow up article in the next few weeks about Travel and Entertainment Tips and Secrets that Do Not Break the Bank.

Key To Keeping Employees

Key To Keeping Employees

Owning a business or leading a team can be one of the most challenging things you can do, but it can be fun and rewarding if done right. I always say I’d take the worst day in my life as a business owner than the best day I had working for someone else, and I say this because for the most part (since I got to choose the industry I want to be in-sportswear), going to work has always felt like a lot of fun, instead of a tedious obligation.

It is easy to take for granted that my team members may not feel all the excitement and vision I have for the company. One of the biggest yet seldom addressed pitfalls of a small business is the psyche of the team members and how they feel about you, the company and the brand. I have learned over the years that pre-maintenance is a lot easier than damage control so in order to keep my office up and running on all cylinders there are 7 things I like to do:

1. Have a plan and write it – Sounds so simple but one of the biggest failures of small business owners is that you have dreams and ambition but it doesn’t make it on paper. This leads to constant changes, instability and employees losing trust that you’re the right person to lead them. Nobody wants to be lead by someone who changes their mind about the direction of the company on a whim (I’ve learned this the hard way). You may have a ton of brilliant ideas and in time you will get to them but remember you must first “plan your work and work your plan”.

2. Communication – Nobody will tell you that they like meetings but it’s vitally important that you have at least one scheduled each week to talk about where the company is at, what direction the company is headed and at least one personal victory story from the week before.  Personally, I like to start my meetings by casually talking about the weekend events and really try to get the team involved. When you are meeting with 12 and under this shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish; if the group is larger you may have to be a little creative. Next we go over each team members highs and lows of the previous week so we can learn from each other and finally we cap it off with this weeks expectations; it’s simple and to the point.

3. Food – Everyone loves food and there’s no quicker way to get a group moving and motivated than bringing in something delicious for them to eat before your meetings or during the week when you feel the momentum has shifted away from what you want. Every once in a while I’ll go out and buy each person the candy of their choice or just pick up a big bag of assorted candy and put it in a bowl… Be careful of candy coma (yes, this has happened to the office before). Also, never underestimate the power of freshly brewed coffee in the morning.

4. Games, games, and more games – I own a sportswear company so games come easy. We have office brackets for the NFL and NBA playoffs, March Madness and pretty much anything else that comes up. We also play in an inner office fantasy football league which creates some very fun and colorful talks each week. Participating in inner office games like these will bond your team members and create a sense of belonging and loyalty.

5. Have a plan for each employee – Everyone wants to achieve and succeed at what they do. Your job is to map out a career path for each person working for you and let them know about it. When an employee knows you have a plan for them, it is easier to get through the hard times when they come (which they will, they always do). The plan also motivates them to work harder to achieve the next step in their careers. As a small business you may not have a lot of opportunity at the moment but you can plan to grow and when you grow, the new positions that become available should be filled by current team members if at all possible. This will give the next guy who’s working his way up some hope for his future as well and boost company morale.

6. Plan trips – Each year I try to take a company vacation with the team. This may sound expensive and unnecessary and at times it is, but if you can budget it in, your team will love you for it and make your company a place everyone wants to work at. We usually make our annual business planning session an excuse to hit the slopes or spend a weekend at the beach. When budget does not permit, be creative! Paintball nights or something that everyone loves to do can go a long way.The benefits  far outweigh the costs and create memories that will stay with you forever.

7. Get to know them – In America employers have a phobia about actually getting to know the people who work for them.  I find this to be one of the dumbest things American businesses have adopted. Knowing about your team members’ family and kids, or other loved ones and actually asking about them (God forbid) is a great way to help them achieve their goals and let them know you care. For some reason we have been raised up to believe the boss has to be cracking the whip and glaring through their office window at their employees to be effective, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A great leader will know how to balance being personal and objective and when to be what.

Boosting Employee MoraleShow you care and your team will also care, that’s a win-win if I ever heard one. Morale is one of the most important factors of growth that a leader has to pay attention to in a small business. If your employees give up, your business will soon follow. I have had my share of letting it slip every now and then but it is always good to be reminded that it can turned around if we put the above tips into practice.

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

Child CEO

Children and CEOs

When I was a kid I dreamt of doing great things, making a difference and having an impact in this world. I had the drive to conquer the world and the immaturity to hurt everyone around me while doing it. I was basically a self obsessed lunatic for most of my young adult and teenage life,  just like the majority of teenagers in the world, I walked around thinking about myself all day long and acted accordingly. You could say I was not off to the best start at becoming a leader and making a difference and you would be 100% correct.  So what changed? Besides finding Jesus (not that he was lost or anything), I got married and had kids! And lived happily ever after.. Hmm, sounds pretty dumb but you wouldn’t believe how many people actually think this is what happens.  The truth is for the first time in your life you are not the most important person in the world, so you can either embrace it or fight it. The choice is yours but if you ever wish to be a great leader, I would choose option A.

Here are three things I learned from my kids that make me the CEO that I am today:

Example is everything: When I’m at home the phrase “Monkey see, monkey do” is never more evident. One day while I was in the garage unloading some things out of the back of my SUV, I decided to try and juggle everything in one hand while closing the door with my other hand. Usually this is no problem and I can complete this task like a pro but on this particular day my head was in the clouds and I shut the door on my fingers. The next few words out of my mouth were nothing I will be ever proud of but suffice to say they would not be included in a Disney movie. When I looked over, my child was standing there listening and ran off repeating my cute phrase over and over again for Mommy and the whole world to hear.  Lesson learned, you never know when someone is listening, especially when they are 3 feet tall. Even if I accidentally (because I would never do this on purpose) burp, I know for the week the dinner table is going to become the burp Olympics for the kids. Translation; nothing we do goes unnoticed so be careful.  Work is no different. If I start showing up late and leaving early, within a week my employees are doing the same thing. As a business owner I have to make sure I either open or close so I am showing an example of punctuality. If I make a crass comment while at work, yep, you guessed it, someone else will inevitably follow suit. The worst is when I get mad about a customer because all of a sudden everyone feels justified to vent their frustrations about a customer out loud and that brings moral and customer service down.  So be careful because people are watching.

When things go wrong, encourage, don’t shout: My kids are amazing but inevitably they do things that make me want to tear my hair out. The other day one of my children spilled their drink on the table as soon as I sat down to eat. The first thing in my mind after a hard day’s work and cooking and serving and cleaning was not “Oh honey, that’s okay, Dada loves you and I know it was a mistake”… No, the first thing on my mind was “God, please, please, what did I do to deserve this?” This kind of thinking many times will inspire me to bark out a harsh or angry remark that in all honesty is completely undeserved. Sometimes I actually use my brain and decide to say something encouraging and deny my primal urges of frustration and the result is usually spectacular. When I encourage them and tell them I believe in them and they can do better next time, it is like watching a light bulb light up and the happiness for the rest of dinner is infectious. Employees are not much different; I am not saying if your employee continually screws up you should put up with it (see point three for more on this). I’m saying when an employee unintentionally screws up, instead of showing frustration and anger, or even just reprimanding them, make it a learning moment for them and for others in their department so that not only does the mistake not happen again but the employee feels grateful that you didn’t blow them up for an honest mistake. Fear works for a little while but loyalty works much better; I’d rather have loyal employees than fearful ones.

Say what you mean and mean what you say: When calling the kids to dinner, many times it can go like this “Kids, dinner’s ready, lets eat”, then you wait, and wait, and wait. Next you say it in a louder voice “KIDS! Come eat!” You may get an “Okay dad” but still nobody comes. At this point your frustration builds and you scream “KIDS!! COME EAT NOW OR YOU’RE ON TIME OUT/lose your video games/fill-in-your-own-threat” and amazingly the kids come running. What did I learn? That every kid has the ability to obey if the rules are clear, and that I need to mean what I say the first time, and that I need to enforce consequences before they become threats. If you don’t really mean what you say, even kids can tell, how much more adults? So when I’m at work I’m careful to never say anything I’m not willing to follow through on. If we have a rule and it’s broken, I have to take that employee aside and make sure it does not happen again with a warning or even a write up. If I have a sales rep and they don’t hit their number, I have to bring them in and talk to them or they wont be motivated to hit their number each and every month.  I hate doing these things but not doing them in the past has caused me to lose the respect of my employees.  If you don’t want to enforce certain rules, then don’t make them rules! Always be clear about what you expect out of your employees.

 

I can probably write a book about everything else I have learned about leadership from my kids. But for now, if you learn nothing else in life about what it takes to be someone who people would want to follow, then embrace these three things and you have already won half the battle.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

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I’m excited about the opportunity to share with the world the “Band of Bosses” blog.  Here we will talk about any and all subjects related to being a boss.  Whether you’re a business owner like myself or a manager at the mall, it makes no difference because this site is dedicated to having a community of leaders and helping  each other lead better. The idea behind the Band of Bosses comes from Proverbs, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance”.  We are all leaders and learners on this site so feedback is greatly encouraged.  Everyone wants to hear from you so don’t be silent!  Just a few guidelines, no profanity and no belittling; we can correct, encourage and help each other with tact. Everyone that comes here is both a teacher and a student so lets make sure we act accordingly. Also,  I encourage each and every one of you to write your own article to be published here with the wisdom you have obtained from your own experiences; just post a topic and once it passes review it will be posted.

I’d like to share a little bit about myself. Currently I am the President of Allen Sportswear a fast growing team sports apparel company based in Orlando, FL.  I am also Co-Founder of iPrevail International Foundation, a non profit organization that specializes in helping families overcome tragedy and get back on their feet.

I started off from humble beginnings, after a very unmotivating 4 years in high school I had two options presented to me; move out and work my way through Junior College or join the Military. I chose to enlist in the Navy and that began my journey into not only becoming a man but becoming a leader. While in the Military I achieved the highest ranking possible in a 4 year period and became a part of the Special Forces as a U.S. Navy 2nd class Diver. During my 4th of what was supposed to be 8 year enlistment I was hit by a car on base in Pearl Harbor and that was the end of my diving days (Yes, I know that doesn’t sound sexy but it’s the truth).
After my military days I jumped around doing everything from tutoring to working as a prison guard (juvenile hall actually) . Nothing caught my interest though until I met the woman of my dreams and decided I needed to grow up and get serious about a career if she was ever going to marry me. Yes, she does read this blog if you were wondering 😉 but that doesn’t change the facts. So, I decided to get into the exciting world of selling and I was a natural. I moved from one job to the next until I finally ended up at SBC, now called AT&T. I made good money but was left unfulfilled by what I was selling and what kind of impact I was making in the world.
That feeling eventually led me to start Allen Sportswear with my wife Tina and 10 years later we are still at it, learning from our mistakes and doing what we can to make each year better than the last. I love Allen Sportswear but one of the things I’m most proud of is iPrevail, which is something I get nothing out of but knowledge that I have made an impact in this world, which For me, there is no better feeling.

I look forward to hearing your stories and learning from your endeavors, thanks ahead of time for the knowledge you bring.

By: Todd Marinshaw