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Cheat Sheet

Business Skills All-in-One For Dummies (UK Edition)

While working to improve your business skills, having some key information to hand can be invaluable. Print out and pin up these useful reminders and guidelines to assist you in developing your skills in business.

Sharpening Your Business Rapport in Seven Quick Ways

Rapport is the foundation of valuable relationships and is key to your success in your interactions with others in business. Here are some ways to help you build rapport fast:

  • Take a genuine interest in getting to know what’s important to someone with whom you want to build rapport. Start to understand that person rather than expecting the person to understand you first.

  • Pick up on the key words, favourite phrases and manner of speaking that someone uses, and then build these items subtly into your own conversation with that person.

  • Notice how someone likes to handle information. Does the person like lots of details or just the big picture? As you speak to the person, feed back information in this same portion size.

  • Breathe in unison with the other person.

  • Look out for someone’s intention – the underlying aim – instead of what the person does or says. People may not always get things right, but expect their heart to lie in the right place.

  • Adopt a similar stance to the other person in terms of your body language, gestures, voice tone and speed of talking.

  • Respect someone’s time, energy, favourite people and money. They’re important resources for that person.

Ten Ways for Managers to Motivate Employees in Business

Employees may not need a pay rise as much as they do personal thanks from their manager for a job well done. Show your workers that you support them, and encourage better performance by motivating them in the following ways:

  • Personally thank employees for doing a good job – one-on-one, in writing or both. Do it promptly, often and sincerely.

  • Be willing to take time to meet with and listen to employees. Give them as much time as they need or want.

  • Provide specific feedback about the performance of the employee, the department and the organisation.

  • Strive to create a work environment that is open, trusting and fun. Encourage new ideas and initiative.

  • Provide information about upcoming products and strategies, how the company makes and loses money and how each employee fits into the overall plan.

  • Involve employees in decisions, especially those decisions that directly affect them.

  • Encourage employees to have a sense of ownership in their work and their work environment.

  • Create a partnership with each employee, giving them a chance to grow and learn new skills. Show them how you can help them meet their goals within the context of meeting the organisation’s goals.

  • Celebrate successes of the company, the department and the individuals in it. Take time for team- and morale-building meetings and activities.

  • Use performance as the basis for recognising, rewarding and promoting people. Deal with low and marginal performers so that they improve their performance or leave the organisation.

Top Time Management Tips

Help yourself to save time, and also to make the most of your time, by taking on board these tried-and-tested time management tips. If it’s too overwhelming to adopt all of them, pick one to try at first.

  • Spend a moment to plan each and every day. Take a few minutes to jot down the few key things you need to achieve today.

  • Set a time limit. You’re more focused and less likely to get distracted if you don’t have an open-ended time slot in your day for a particular task.

  • Write everything down. You’ll save time and be less stressed if you’re not holding all those things you’re trying to remember in your head.

  • Focus on important tasks. Don’t just focus on the urgent items.

  • Look at your longer-term goals. Ask yourself how what you’re doing each day fits in with your goals.

  • Do little and often. Breaking tasks into chunks helps to prevent a build-up and is less overwhelming when you’re only spending a few minutes on a task.

  • Take a break. Doing so might seem counter-intuitive, but if you try to cram too much into your day you end up stressed out and exhausted. Have regular breaks and you’ll be more productive.

  • Don’t do it all on your own. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

  • Keep the balance. Try not to spend all your waking hours at work – make time for home, family, and friends, and make sure you leave time to eat properly and exercise regularly.

Primary Financial Statements of a Business

This list gives details of the three primary financial statements in the running of a business. These statements record your business’s performance, letting you analyse and identify where you’re strong and not-so-strong in your finances:

  • Balance sheet: A summary of the business’s financial position at the end of the accounting period.

  • Profit and loss account: A summary of sales revenue and expenses that determines the profit (or loss) for the period that has just ended. The profit and loss account also summarises the outflow of assets for expenses during the period leading down to the well-known bottom line, or final profit, or loss, for the period.

  • Cash flow statement: The cash flow statement summarises the business’s cash inflows and outflows during the period. The first part of this statement calculates the net increase or decrease in cash during the period from the profit-making activities that are reported in the profit and loss account.

Using the NLP Four-Point Formula for Business Success

You can apply this neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) formula for success to both long-term and short-term goals. So, whether you simply want to hold a productive meeting or are planning the holiday of a lifetime, here’s the quick way to hit your target:

  1. Know your outcome.

    Specifying precisely what you want is vital. You can use the outcome frame to fine-tune the desired outcome and satisfy the well-formedness conditions.

  2. Take action.

    Unless you take that first step, and then the following ones, nothing happens to help you towards your outcomes, no matter how clearly they’re defined.

  3. Have sensory awareness.

    If you have the awareness to see, hear and feel what isn’t working, you can modify your behaviour to steer you towards your desired outcome.

  4. Have behavioural flexibility.

    This point ties in beautifully with the NLP presupposition that ‘In interactions among people, the person with the most flexibility of behaviour can control the interaction.’ Or you can say, ‘If it ain’t working, do something different.’

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