Is it Time for a Fresh Start?

It is nearly that time of the year again when we start to think about what we want for the year ahead; in some cases it may be to see more of the world, to get a new job, to move away or just change your current circumstances in some way. How do you know you need a fresh start though and how do you go about changing things, especially if you are stuck in your ways?

Lack of motivation

We all struggle to get out of our bed on cold, rainy days, but if you feel a lack of motivation for your work, your social life or just anything in general, it is definitely time to make a change. A good way to work out what you want is to write a list of what you are unhappy about and how you can change these, one by one. For instance, if you are dragging yourself to work every day and dreading going back after the Christmas break, why put yourself through it any longer? Of course, this change won’t happen overnight, but you can start by applying for other jobs every week and eventually, something will turn up. Don’t be afraid to try out something different if it will make you happy in the long term. If this means going back to study or taking an evening course, it will pay off in time. If the people around you are making you feel unmotivated or down, it might be time to make a change here too.


Same old

We should always be grateful for what we have, no matter what that may be, but if you are feeling a bit fed up with your surroundings, it might be time to make a fresh start. Maybe you want to live elsewhere for a while, spend some time travelling or even just add a new circle of friends and try different things in your current location. There is nothing wrong with looking for a change, it doesn’t make you ungrateful. Visualise where you want to be and how you can get there and make plans NOW to do it. There is no need to wait until January, February or any other month, it’s time to take action!


If there is something on your mind and you are worried about it, it can quite quickly grow arms and legs until it becomes all you think about. If something or someone is causing you to worry, work out who or what that is and make plans to change it. Worrying doesn’t lead to anything positive and is a waste of energy!

Do you have any plans for a fresh start for the New Year? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!





How to deal with staff shortages over Christmas

Whether it’s a delay in deliveries, long queues in shops or a lack of nurses and too many patients, staff shortages can certainly cause chaos, especially at this time of the year. With disgruntled customers and stressed workers, a lack of resources can put a huge strain on everyone. It is supposed to be the time of the year where we are relaxed and happy, looking forward to our holidays and quite often this is not the case. Whatever industry you may be in, there are steps you can take to deal with staff shortages, so that your employees don’t end up running for the nearest exit.

Give incentives to staff

It is a difficult time of the year to be working and while some people don’t mind, others want time off to spend with their friends and families. If you are struggling for cover over the festive period, why not offer incentives for staff to make it a little easier for them. For instance, paid lunches for a week, extra days off, option to work from home, casual dress code or putting on taxis if they are working until late. These are small incentives but they can go a long way to making staff feeling valued and may make them more willing to help out when the workloads are demanding.


Take on temporary resources

Many employers don’t want the cost of temporary resources, but the truth is that over worked staff and unhappy customers is much worse. If you are in the retail industry for example, does it not make more sense to hire an extra pair of hands than have customers leaving your store unhappy and without a purchase?

Be realistic

It is important to be realistic about what you can and can’t offer to your customers with the resources you have. You have to be able to manage your customers’ expectations and ensure staff are not left overwhelmed. Don’t be frightened to tell your customers that it may take a little longer for certain things. Obviously this will depend on the sector you are in; it’s not so easy to do in social care or retail but if possible, keep the workload to a manageable level for your staff.

More breaks

This may seem like it defeats the purpose but when workloads are overwhelming, it is important to offer your staff more breaks so they can de-stress. Again, it might depend on the industry you are in but if possible, this will definitely help your staff to feel more motivated and have more energy. Many workers won’t be used to working during the festive period so beware of this and give everyone fair breaks and time to recover from the chaos!

How have you handled staff shortages in your own business? How did you overcome these?

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Tips for making the move from cold calling to social media for market research

A recent conversation with someone got me thinking about social media and how it can be used for market research purposes. He had endured the awful experience of starting a job which turned out to be a market research role, phoning people at home and asking them questions from a survey. It surprised me that companies are still using the old fashioned method of ripping pages out the phone book and cold calling customers. In this day and age, does anyone really use the phone that much for calls any more and more importantly, do most of us even have a landline? Is there anyone who doesn’t really just find these calls a nuisance? Surely social media is a much more current and relevant way of conducting research and as a business, it would make more sense to ask new starts to use this method, rather than cold calling. They would be much more likely to be interested in it, engaged in the job and it would save going through the process of constantly hiring new people, without much results! If your business is one which conducts market research, these tips might help you move away from the traditional to the more current methods and get better results in the process.

Follow Target Market

With any surveys, there is usually a particular niche you are looking for; i.e. specific interests and rather than wasting the time trying to find the right people through hundreds of phone calls, you can utilise social media by searching for specific interests, location etc. You can use the advanced search on Twitter to bring up the specifics and then only follow these people who will be useful for the purpose of your market research.


Online Survey

An online survey is far more appealing than one which is taken over the phone. People can do it at their own leisure and will be much more willing to get involved. If you use your target market to approach with the survey, you are far more likely to get interest, rather than approaching those who have no relevance, which will inevitably happen through random phone calls! Add images to your surveys to make them seem a little more interesting, even if the content is a bit boring.

Offer Incentives

Another appeal of using social media for market research is that you can offer incentives to encourage interest. For example, the 100th person to complete the survey will get a prize and make sure the prize is one which will be of interest; it doesn’t need to be expensive. Many people will me more willing to get involved and it will be certain to drive extra interest to your market research. This is something you can’t do by conducting research over phone calls.


Use Trends

Facebook and Twitter both having the facility for finding out what people are talking about and the current trends of topics at the moment. You can analyse this data for the purpose of market research.