Top 3 Challenges of Managing Virtual Teams And Their Solutions

Top 3 Challenges of Managing Virtual Teams And Their Solutions

Your business will benefit much from hiring remote employees, such as enhanced efficiency and productivity, access to global talent as well as lower resource and infrastructure expenses.

However, you will only be able to enjoy these benefits if you can overcome the challenges of working with virtual teams. You have to put a lot in place to ensure success. Click here to access free training to ensure you have the traits of a leader if you are leading a virtual team or you intend to lead one.

Also, check out the three top challenges of managing virtual teams and their solutions.

1. Poor Communication

Poor communication and miscommunication are arguably the most significant challenges leaders face with their virtual teams. It can sometimes be difficult to pass messages to your virtual team because there is no face-to-face communication with them. The most popular reasons for this poor communication are time zone differences between virtual teams and their cultural differences. There are several ways poor communication can impact your team and business, such as unsatisfied customers, not meeting targets, higher stress levels, and disputes between workers.


Communication Tools

Email is very old-fashioned even though it’s still one of the most popular means of communication. It also lacks the practicality that several other modern communication tools provide. There are numerous virtual team communication tools designed and developed to make your work easier. These tools will help you reach out to your team and ensure everyone is on the same page. For example, Slack and Google Hangouts are excellent choices for instant messaging. Chats, Zoom, and Skype are great for video conferencing, G Suite is perfect for file sharing and collaboration.

Virtual Communication Guidelines

As a leader, you can significantly improve your virtual team’s efficiency by setting guidelines for team communication. These guidelines include:

  • Response Time Limits: Determine the time an employee has before responding to your messages. Doing this will ensure no query or message will be left unattended for long.
  • Set Particular Working Hours: specify a few mandatory working hours daily where everyone will be available online. This will promote effective planning and collaboration.

Tips to manage your virtual team and get everyone working in sync:

2. Low Productivity

Leaders face another top challenge with their virtual teams: low productivity and reduced focus. And that’s because working remotely makes it hard to focus and be accountable. The home is unabridged with distractions, unlike the office. And these distractions can affect your virtual team’s productivity. Also, many workers are susceptible to burnout when they work remotely because they lack boundaries.


Productivity Tools

Productivity tools can help to prevent distractions and maintain focus. These tools are categorized as website blockers, white noise generators, timers, and noise cancellation software. Some of these great tools you can introduce to your virtual team members are StayFocusd, Noisli, Pomodoro Timers, and Krisp.

Promote Work Standards

As a leader, it is your responsibility to emphasize and promote work standards if your virtual team members are not used to working remotely and telecommuting.

You can use the following ways to help them transition and adapt to working remotely and virtual work.

  • Carry Out Frequent Reviews And Check-ins: Regularly check in on your virtual team’s progress by maintaining an open line of communication with them. Please encourage them to tell you about the difficulties and help them with solutions. Continuous interactions with your virtual team will motivate them to be more engaged with their work.
  • Use Clear Targets and Goals: Clear targets and goals help your virtual team know precisely what they have to do. Clear targets ensure that there won’t be any distraction because your team has something they are working towards. You can use project management or a calendar tool to proffer a clear visual of your brand’s goal to your team, you can use project management or calendar tool.
  • Share Ways to Increase Productivity: As popular as this is, some leaders still tend to forget or overlook it. Sharing tips on how your virtual team can increase productivity will go a long way in benefitting them and your company.

3. Difficult Task Management

Teams in companies with office spaces review and plan projects through physical discussions and meetings. However, the same is not for virtual teams. Most virtual teams work in different time zones.

As a leader, it won’t be easy to organize frequent meetings. You may not even pass your message as effectively as you would in a physical session, even with all the advanced video conferencing tools.


Project Management Tools

Project management tools help virtual teams to plan, collaborate and stay updated easily. You will be able to track deadlines, ongoing projects, completed projects, what each virtual team member is currently working on, etc. As a leader, you will be able to plan, organize and update your tasks, assignments, and projects in a single place using reliable project management tools. ClickUp, Todoist, and Wrike are some dedicated tools for remote workers.

Final Thoughts

You will enjoy the exclusive benefits of leading a coordinated virtual team once you overcome the challenges that come with virtual teams. You also have to ensure you are constantly working on yourself to lead a virtual team. And the best way is to keep learning and challenging yourself to be better than you were the previous day. Click here to access leadership courses by Tonika Bruce. She is a seasoned author passionate about seeing leaders reach their full potential.


How to Improve Your Team Time Management?

How to Improve Your Team Time Management

As a successful leader, you must consistently find ways to bring out the best in your team members. One of the ways to effectively do that is to help them manage their time.

Time management is one of the crucial roles of a leader that wants their business to thrive.

With adequate time management, your team members will be less stressed, more productive, deliver high-quality work and meet deadlines. Proper time management also promotes collaboration and keeps everyone updated about every ongoing project.

However, it is challenging to help your team members to manage their time well. You will need a lot of patience and time to master people management. This article outlines four tips you can employ now to reduce the chaos and spend less time on a project. 

4 Ways You Can Improve Your Team Time Management

Below are 4 effective ways to improve your team’s time management:

1. Set Your Team Up For Success

It’s not ideal to set expectations for your team members to meet when you have not given them the necessary tools, instructions, and training to execute the project efficiently. A lack of proper direction from the team or project leader will affect productivity and waste time.

Before your team members start any task, you want them to be productive and effective, so communicate your expectations and goals clearly.

Here is how to do this;

  • Set the priorities: Let them know the part of the project that should be prioritized and the deadline for the project.
  • Provide guidelines: Make sure they can easily access the information to complete the task.
  • Highlight the project guidelines: Another excellent way to set your team members up for success is to highlight the guidelines for the project in a document and share it with them using Google Docs or Dropbox. They will quickly refer to the document if they have any questions.
  • Delegate wisely: don’t overwhelm your team members. Ensure you know their capabilities and their limits. This will ensure that you can agree on a more manageable itinerary for new tasks.

2. Encourage Teamwork and Support

Apart from a lack of time management, some work cultures are integrated by leaders, which prevents team members from reaching optimal output. While most of these work cultures are unintentional, some leaders have successfully created sterile environments.

These work cultures include expecting your team members to respond to emails immediately or expecting them to be available online at all times. And although many employees struggle with attention and time management, leaders need to address the underlying work culture problems.

If leaders don’t address these issues, time management will always be a problem. So, instead of expecting your team members to be available at all times, ensure that every team member has someone to fill in when absent. This will significantly improve productivity and prevent stress and burnout.

3. Always Be Available

Many leaders might feel they are not responsible for managing and protecting their team members’ time. But the truth is, as a leader, it is one of your crucial responsibilities. You can not afford to be too busy for your team members. So make time for them, no matter how little.

Dismissing your team members anytime they come to meet you is a sure way to lose their trust. They won’t go the extra mile for you since you are never there for them. Instead, make time to help your team members if you want to improve your team’s time management.

Please encourage them to tell you what’s hindering their time management or bothering them. You need to lend your team a helping hand if you want your business to thrive. You may even have to change some of your existing processes and work cultures, but a productive and healthy team is worth the effort.

4. Limit Meetings

While meetings are necessary, they also consume a lot of time. One of the best ways to limit meetings is having “no meeting day.” Popular brands like Facebook and Asana propagated this idea.

The idea is to pick a day in the week when there will be no meeting of any kind. This will allow your team members to spend their time catching up on tasks, handling deliverables, and progressing on tasks and projects. During this “no meeting day,” they will focus on their tasks without interference.

Another excellent way to limit meetings is to ensure that every meeting has a defined purpose. That will help you to create an agenda for the meeting. As a result, your team members will be clear on the necessity and have enough time to prepare. Also, ensure you keep the meeting as short as possible and allow your team members to make more time to solve the meeting’s agenda.

Also, you should set clear objectives for the meetings to lessen the time spent during meetings since everyone will come prepared for meetings.

Final Thoughts

Improving your team’s time management can be challenging. And the way to get your team members to collaborate with you is to allow them to learn the tools and skills they need to manage their time. Ensure that you involve them in every process, as this will make them receptive to new tools and methods you employ.


Top 5 Leadership Questions You Should Ask Yourself

Top 5 Leadership Questions You Should Ask Yourself

Leadership is a tough gig, and if you are currently in that position, you know way too well the challenges that may emerge from time to time. These are both external and internal, and that is why it is necessary to know who you are, in order to lead others. You can not be an effective leader if you do not self-reflect and ask yourself the right questions.

Today on the podcast, Tonika Bruce shares the top 5 questions every leader must ask on their journey to leadership excellence.

Key Points from the podcast:

  • Self-reflection is vital in leadership development
  • 5 questions that will help leaders self-reflect

We are going to discuss these five essential leadership questions that leaders should ask themselves for personal assessment below. Forbes found out that answering these questions honestly and fully will guide a leader in the right direction.

1. Am I Communicating the Big Picture and Actively Listening?

“Communication is what makes leadership possible, and that means both speaking and listening.”-Tonika Bruce

Communication is what makes leadership possible, and that means both speaking and listening. Even more, communicating with clarity just to ensure that the team has its eye on whether the price is.

Effective leaders know that good communication skills are vital in all modes of communication whether it is a verbal presentation, a written report, or instructions to employees. An effective leader also values active listening because it is the only way to get feedback and opinions from the team members and clients. Furthermore, leaders do consult certain experts, and listening keenly to them helps leaders to make informed decisions. Lastly, as leaders communicate they are keen to use the proper body language, avoid distractions, maintain eye contact, and respond appropriately.

2. How Am I Inspiring Others in Their Role?

Did you know that most employees feel stuck at work seeking validation and it’s not because they want attention?

“One of my favorite ones is to ask if I am inspiring the team. I strive to understand what motivates my team because it does inspire their goals or achievements in the long run. Some are motivated by rewards, others recognition or even team spirit- the bottom line is a leader must consider how they inspire those they lead”-Tonika Bruce

Did you know that most employees feel stuck at work seeking validation and it’s not because they want attention? The reason is they want to know their skills are useful and are adding value to the advancement of the company vision.

The simplest way for leaders to inspire and motivate their teams is by explaining to them their vision for the company. When all the members are aware of the expected result, then it is easier to work together towards the goal. Setting clear objectives help all team members to track their progress and identify accomplishments in an inspiring manner.

Research by Perkbox indicates that mapping out clear goals and explaining them to all employees has positive impacts on an entire organization. The main reason is that regardless of the employee’s superiority or rank in the company, all members see and get inspired by how their efforts contribute to the success of the organization.

What inspiration looks like:

  • Show them what their contribution helps to solve in the team or organization, not just telling them why they need to perform.
  • Show you understand their aptitudes, behaviors, and tendencies
  • Coach, don’t just command-enable them by providing the right tools and support.
  • Consider their personal growth not just responsibility- developing your employees to move up the career ladder is as inspiring as it gets.
  • Consider the significance of their performance during evaluation, not just success and numbers. If an employee performed at 80% in sales, after discussing ways to get to 100% also look at the impact from the sales. Maybe the 80% generated enough income to add 2 more to the team.

Are you a new leader? Try the short foundational leadership course for aspiring and new executives: The Impactful Leader

3. Am I Making Progress Every Day?

“Learning does not stop when you start leading. This question helps you to reflect on areas of improvement because you become more aware of when you need to do better.”-Tonika Bruce

Great leaders progress every day because they aim for incremental gains.

Progressive leaders figure out the problem, set tangible goals, develop a game plan, and with a positive attitude implement it. In addition, enlightened leaders have the emotional intelligence to comprehend and admit that change is inevitable.

Therefore, they do not hold onto regressive concepts but they quickly embrace change and innovation. They encourage their team members to contribute openly when solving a problem.

In this way, they get new perspectives, innovative solutions, and a variety of ways to grow. Finally, true leaders do not advance alone but they act as cheerleaders who encourage and invest in the growth and success of their teams.

Consider these pointers to gauge if you are making progress:

  • Are you setting and accomplishing goals- yours and those of team members?
  • What about your processes and systems have they changed over time?
  • Is the team evolving- are there promotions, role change, new hires?

4. Do I Have Potential Leaders That I am Building?

“Leading is not always about being the commander but it’s building talent for succession. Increasing performance and paving the way for your promotion. You have to ask yourself this question to know how well you are testing and delegating responsibilities to your team.”-Tonika Bruce

As a leader, you must challenge your juniors to step out of their comfort zone and take more duties so that they can learn. Great leaders motivate and positively influence the actions of their employees. They encourage, empower, support, and mentor their juniors to follow in their footsteps. One way to do this is to hold open conversations with team members to determine when they have lost their passion or ambition and move swiftly to inspire them.

5. What Values Guide Me Every Day in Decision-Making?

“Your core values and beliefs must stay intact because they are a true reflection of your authentic self.”-Tonika Bruce

Lastly, you must ensure that your core values and beliefs stay intact because they have to shine through your leadership and all the decision-making that you have. Staying true to your values makes you reliable and makes you an exemplary leader.

Case studies by Havard Business review discovered that great leaders are aware that ignoring their core values is disastrous and consistently revisiting the values is extremely vital for quality leadership. Additionally, leaders know that good values must be reflective of the shift in business and leadership. Therefore, their beliefs and values should remain even as they adapt to change in time as the nature of business shifts.

The bottom line is that the leaders must remain true to their core values despite the changing environments and belief systems to prove their reliability. When leaders adopt changes, it does not mean inconsistency, it shows that they are up to date with current trends.


Effective self-questioning enhances leaders’ awareness and control of their thinking, which results in improved learning. Self-questioning helps in predicting future occurrences, clarifying unclear situations, and summarizing the known. Additionally, self-questioning advances long-term retention of leadership skills and knowledge, as well as the leaders’ ability to implement and transfer the expertise to their teams.

Tonika Bruce offers leadership coaching for people looking to join executive positions in companies and business owners. To get in depth training, hop on a 15-minute consultation call: Schedule a Meeting with Coach Bruce.


7 Ways to Improve Your Leadership And Management Skills

7 Ways to Improve Your Leadership And Management Skills

 Improve Your Leadership  : If you want to advance in your career, leadership, and management skills are crucial. Key leadership and management skills are considered crucial, including developing critical thinking skills, taking initiatives, motivating your team members, etc.

It would help if you constantly challenged yourself to hone your leadership and management capabilities. You can fast-track your career if you show what it takes to be a successful leader. While there are a few born leaders, most of us have to develop, learn, hone and improve on being a success. Check out these seven ways you can improve your leadership and management skills.

Be a Critical Thinker

It would be best to be a critical thinker before considering any high-level job. One of the core skills you need to have to be an excellent leader is to foresee any potential issue before it happens. That way, you will prevent the problems or put strategic solutions in place if they occur. Another core skill is seeing potential opportunities that can benefit the company and taking advantage of them.

A good leader doesn’t wait for things to happen before finding solutions; you have to be proactive. You foresee the problems, anticipate them, and proffer solutions immediately they occur. And if any employee brings any issue, a good leader will help them find the source and put preventive measures in place so that it will not negatively affect your employees and the company.

Take Initiatives

Many companies will only give their leadership position and tasks to people that can adequately fill the role and perform excellently. That’s why you must volunteer to take on more roles and responsibilities. You have to learn areas and competencies outside your primary job description.

It would be best if you went above and beyond. You can’t afford to be lazy. Step out of your comfort and constantly improve yourself. The more roles and responsibilities you take, the more you learn and grow in those areas. This will also make it easy for your colleagues to accept you as a true leader because you have consistently established that you are capable of taking the initiative and getting things done.

Be Disciplined

In every field, discipline is necessary to execute and achieve goals. It does matter how good your vision or plan is; it is entirely useless without discipline. You need the discipline to execute your plans successfully.

For example, you and your team members want to create an excellent business plan to attract investors. And there were no plans to rehearse the business plan effectively.

When the time to present the proposal comes, you cannot adequately communicate your aims and objectives to the investors, they might decline your plan, and you will lose the project. If you want to be a successful leader, it is vital you are self-disciplined and also ensure your team members are disciplined too.

Team members can cultivate discipline through the following:

  • Understand their strengths and weaknesses
  • Have a clear plan
  • Learn to tolerate discomfort
  • Visualize the rewards
  • Learn and recover from mistakes
  • Have a resilience attitude to achieve the set goal

Motivate Your Team Members

A true leader must learn how to influence people under them positively. You must motivate and energize your coworkers and employees whenever they lose their passions and ambitions. To effectively do this, you need to know what they need and want to effectively do this.

Employees lose their motivation for various reasons, so you can’t use a cap fit all for all of them. For some, they feel their hard work is not being recognized. As a true leader, you must appreciate them by recognizing their hard work.

For others, they might be tired of repetitive tasks, facing difficulties in the place of work, disappointed they are not being involved, etc. You should know how to seek out your employees and coworkers, see how they are faring, listen attentively, and ultimately encourage and empower them to be part of the process.

You can also motivate your team members by creating a healthy working environment. You can do this by rewarding them with random lunches, awards when they hit benchmarks, etc.

Never Stop Learning

Leadership and constant learning are mutually beneficial. Examine other successful leaders. Try to replicate their results better. Also, read books by great authors. Finally, go for training, both online and physical. You can start by undergoing this free training by Tonika Bruce.

Be a Follower

As a leader, you must acknowledge the values of your employees, encourage others to learn from them, and, most importantly, you learn from them. If your employee has better knowledge in an area than you do, learn from them. Or they have a new idea that can benefit the company, encourage and work on it. You are instilling confidence in your employees.

Know-How to Handle Conflicts

Handling conflicts and difficult people is one of the core skills of a good leader. If an employee is not working the way they should or they bring a negative attitude to the workplace, a true leader knows how to handle the worker and talk to them in private. A leader has to be straightforward and brutally honest. It is not easy to query an employee or point out a problem. So you must always ensure that you listen to the team member’s side of the story before taking any action.

Below are a few pointers for conflict management in a team:

  • Create an enabling environment for workers healthy culture to thrive
  • Recognize the signs of conflict early
  • Promptly deal with conflict
  • Set rules for handling conflict
  • Deal with everyone equally, never take sides

Final Thoughts

Excellent leadership and management skills are crucial if you want to develop your career. And to successfully improve your leadership and management skills, you need to think about how to improve yourself and things you can do to become influential in your place of work.

You can start reading how to become a successful leader to get started. And Tonika Bruce, a seasoned author, has a wide range of leadership books you can pick from. Click here to get the courses now!

Infographic Points

5 Ways to Improve How You Lead Others

  • Motivate others: Find what makes each member tick
  • Think critically: Foresee opportunities and problems before they occur.
  • Challenge yourself: Constantly broaden your horizon
  • Never stop learning: The more you learn, the more you know.
  • Discipline yourself: Empower your thoughts.

Short Blurb

  • Do you want to enhance your team’s performance? Then, you should consider some essential leadership and management skills, including developing critical thinking skills, taking initiatives, motivating your team members, etc. Learn more about effective leadership and management skills to enhance team performance today.
  • It would help challenge yourself to become a better leader by exhibiting sound Improve Your Leadership and management skills. You can fast-track your career if you show what it takes to be a successful leader. Read more here as we have some tips for you.

Top 3 Small Business Grants for Women Entrepreneurs to Apply for Today

Top 3 Small Business Grants for Women Entrepreneurs to Apply for Today

The modern woman plays a substantial role in shaping the business landscape. Women have become more involved in entrepreneurship, resulting in productivity surges, enhanced innovation, and economic growth.

Statistics indicate that more than 40% of businesses are owned by women today. Yet, in stark contrast, only 2% of startup venture funding is awarded to women.

Too often, women face inordinate challenges in qualifying for business loans and other forms of financing compared to their male counterparts. With stereotyping and social-economic factors like running a business, making deals seen as male territory.

Where is this money, and how can women ensure slightly fair distribution?

Considering the difficulties of accessing loans and other investment financings by women, they can look into grant awards.
This article seeks to bridge that gap by empowering and enlightening you on the top three grants in the U.S. that women can apply to obtain funds for their businesses.

If you are a female entrepreneur running a startup or thinking of setting up one, find out if you qualify for a business grant. There are several small business grants specifically for women entrepreneurs.

But before we dive in, let us first answer the question: what is a grant?

A grant is essentially free money that you do not have to pay back. Sounds pretty great, right?
Grants can come from the government, local organizations, corporations, or foundations. They are typically awarded based on need or merit.

Below are three small business grants for women entrepreneurs that you can apply for in 2022:

The Tony Burch Foundation Grant

First on this list is the grant by the Tory Burch Foundation. The foundation offers an annual program for women entrepreneurs in early-stage companies, a business education grant, and access to capital.

The Tony Burch Foundation, in partnership with the Fearless Fund, promotes black women-owned businesses through business capital, workshops, and peer-to-peer networking.
Inside the program is an online community of peers to collaborate and engage in workshops with expert instructors according to individual business needs.

The applicant criteria dictate that eligible candidates must be women in a qualifying business that is 51% or more owned or controlled by women. They must also be 21 years old, proficient in English, and legal residents of the United States. The candidates who qualify for the program get a $5000 grant to advance their business education alongside a highly educational one-year fellowship and a trip to the Tory Burch Foundation offices in New York. Amazing, right?

Are you a new or aspiring business leader? Try this short online leadership course for beginners: The Impactful Leader

The Black Founder StartUp Grant

The second grant is the Black Founder StartUp Grant which provides $10,000 and $5000 to black women and nonbinary entrepreneurs.

Applicants must be black women or black non-binary entrepreneurs running a legally registered business. One must also plan to seek investor funding to grow and have a scalable, high-impact solution that has the potential to become the next billion-dollar. The application process involves filling and submitting an online form, after which the vetting and selection of the applicants happen.

The Amber Grant

The third grant is the Amber Grant by WomensNet. Amber Grant was set up in 1998 to honor the memory of a young woman, Amber Wigdhal, who died before realizing her business dreams.

The application process is simple since it involves sharing about one’s business irrespective of the niche or sector. The selection and judging criteria consider the woman behind the enterprise.
So, it counts to build a solid profile for your business. Women whose applications stand out to the selection committee receive an award of a 35,000 dollar grant. The good news is this award is usually up for grabs every month.

A few Pointers That Can Help Women Entrepreneurs Ensure Funding

Although grant awards are purely on a merit basis, there are a few things women entrepreneurs can do to increase their chances of winning grant money.

First, it is essential to understand the process and requirements for grants in your specific industry.

Second, create a well-thought-out and professional business plan that outlines your business goals and how you plan to achieve them.

Lastly, put together a strong team of experts who can help you with everything from developing your proposal to marketing your business. By following these tips, you will be well on your way to winning the funding you need to help grow your business.


There are plenty of small business grants available for women entrepreneurs seeking financial help to get their business off the ground. We’ve outlined three great options for you to consider, but these are by no means the only ones out there. So don’t hesitate to do your research and see what other opportunities might be a good fit for your small business.
And if you need help getting started on your business, don’t worry. Coach Bruce is here to help. Book a 15-minute consultation: Book Consultation.

Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Apply today for the business coaching program!

Already running a business online? Increase conversions with this guidebook on how to find, nurture potential clients and build a customer database: Dominate Your Market


Translating Critical Care Nursing into Innovative Business Processes

Translating Critical Care Nursing into Innovative Business Processes

At the heart of entrepreneurship is innovation. It is the key that unlocks endless possibilities of products and services for any business venture. Speaking of business, if you are like most entrepreneurs, you are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve your business processes, but critical care nursing isn’t the first place you look.

You may not realize it, but critical care nurses have a knack for using their knowledge and experience to develop such innovations. The Covid 19 pandemic has just begun to highlight this.

We will explore some of the business innovations that healthcare professionals have pioneered and how you can learn from them.

Why Critical Care Nurses Spearhead in Innovation

Nurses are often the unsung heroes of the hospital. Critical care nurses, in particular, have some of the most challenging and crucial roles in the medical profession. Daily, they deal with life and death situations. For that reason, they must quickly assess patients’ conditions and administer life-saving treatments.

The pandemic made this creativity even more urgent not only for the survival of patients but also for theirs Reports show that 1,500 nurses, 7,000 healthcare workers died, and 3 million health workers were infected]. In addition to their clinical skills, critical care nurses also need to think innovatively and translate their knowledge into creative processes that improve patient care.

This level of creativity can especially be helpful for nursing professionals who want to create new businesses or improve existing ones.

Nurses in critical care units are constantly innovating to improve patient care

There is a common misconception that nurses are all cut from the same cloth. In reality, nurses come from all walks of life and have a variety of talents and strengths. Critical care nurses, in particular, are renowned for their creativity and innovation. In emergencies, they always find ways to make the patients comfortable-whether that’s developing new protocols or making existing treatments more effective.

Here are ways critical care nurses have used the pandemic to improve patient care outcomes. According to a report by neuroscience nursing, the motivation for these innovations falls into three categories:

  • To reduce the use of unnecessary PPE
  • To promote staff safety and support
  • To improve the readiness of nursing professionals while reducing foot traffic

Now, let’s dive deeper.

Using the Pandemic to Innovate for Better Patient Care

With the Covid 19 causing restrictions in contact with ICU patients, many critical nurses found it difficult to manage care for their patients.

Preventing and Controlling the Spread of the Virus
Nadia Andrade, a critical care nurse at Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center is one of the many who have implemented the use of extended infusion pumps allowing them to tend to patients without being inside the rooms. Moving infusion pumps to the hallway allowed nurses to replace the bags and tend to alarms without entering the ICU rooms.

In support of this, Jason Farley of Johns Hopkins developed a portable plexiglass testing booth for nurses that prevents the exhaled air by patients from reaching the care provider while in the room.

Telemedicine Innovations

Although telemedicine had already been in existence before the pandemic, it has become one of the best opportunities for nursing professionals to innovate patient care.
Like many other nurses, Whitney Fear, an NP at a clinic for the homeless in North Dakota, transitioned to using technology to consult with patients after being quarantined.

Another innovation spurred by the pandemic is the Facebook group Social Distance Powwow creating experiences for ICU patients. Through its now 200,000 members, people can share stories of healing and survival.

Staff Safety and Support
One thing stands out as far as nursing professionals’ physical and emotional well-being is concerned- the role of social media in offering support, encouragement, and information. As nurses invented better ways to care for patients and protect themselves, social platforms were the place of ideas exchange.

Tonika Bruce, a former critical care nurse and business leader, has been at the forefront of innovating ways to support and connect nurses. One of her ventures, the Network Nurse, provides nurse empowerment through training and networking.

Starting as a place to connect healthcare professionals to business and healthcare training opportunities, The Network Nurse has become the hub of other healthcare inventions. It has given rise to Thrudemic; an anthology by healthcare professionals that captures the Covid experiences in the industry, and MBBCH; an online health encyclopedia simplifying nutrition and illness management for the public.

But like many great achievements and inventions, there is always an immense deal of support going on behind the scenes.

Bruce credits the fast tracking of these innovative projects to the dedication of a solid network and community of supporters. These partners include the YEC by Forbes platform providing entrepreneurial resources, the NBNA for awarding her the graduate studies scholarship, and Common Ground’s sponsorship and support to the Young Professionals Council membership.

Critical Care Nurses Innovations in Business

Critical care nursing innovations also translate to ventures that solve specific problems within the emergency care setting. Below are a few examples of businesses started by nurses:

  • A company that makes and distributes specialized medical equipment for use in the ICU
  • A home health care agency that provides skilled nursing visits to patients recovering from critical illness
  • A web-based training program for critical care nurses
  • A mobile app that helps clinicians track patients’ vital signs and provides clinical decision support tools

In conclusion

Often when we talk about innovation in healthcare, we think about the invention of a vaccine or an endoscopic robot, yet, the chief innovation during this pandemic period has been the ability of critical care nurses to innovate patient care on the go.
Critical care nurses can translate this knowledge and experience into innovative business processes.

Bode, Lisa De. “Innovating “In the Here and Now”.” Issues in Science and Technology 37, no. 2 (Winter 2021): 50–55.

Newby, Jamison C.; Mabry, Madison C.; Carlisle, Byron A.; Olson, DaiWai M.; Lane, Blair E. Reflections on Nursing Ingenuity During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: October 2020 – Volume 52 – Issue 5 – p E13-E16
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000525


How to Become a Persuasion Master and Attract More Customers

How to Become a Persuasion Master and Attract More Customers

Every brand and consumer is different, but the goal for all business brands and entrepreneurs is to sell more and, for the consumer, to satisfy a need.

The only way the two goals intersect is through clear and persuasive communication.

There have been studies on persuasion for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the early twentieth century that psychologists began to investigate powerful persuasion techniques. Persuasion’s ultimate goal is to get the target audience to internalize the persuasive argument and adopt the new attitude as part of their belief system.

Here are a few persuasion strategies to help you attract more customers and increase sales.

Different Persuasion Techniques You Can Use to Attract Customers

1. Make an Anchor Point

The anchoring bias is a subtle cognitive bias with significant impacts on negotiations. Marketing and advertising firms understand this and use it to reinforce people’s perceptions of a product.

How does it work? When attempting to make a decision, the first offer made tends to become the anchoring point for all subsequent negotiations. The first number you suggest will serve as the starting point and may result in a higher offer in the end.

Here are a few ways anchoring bias is applied in persuasion:

Using multiple unit pricing
When pricing items, say 4 hygiene wipes for $2 usually perform better than 1 hygiene wipe for $0.5.
Although the price is the same in both cases, multiple pricing performs better. Psychologists Brian Wansink, Robert Kent, and Stephen Hoch’s study on multiple unit pricing found the brain uses the number 4 as an anchor.

Initial price technique
In sales negotiation, the initial offer price always becomes the anchor point. Anything below that appears reasonable regardless of its legitimacy. After this initial anchor, any lower price is a good deal.

Using product range
Pricing two or more similar items on a price range can influence your ability to persuade a customer. For instance, when you place a cotton T-shirt at $45, people will see it as expensive. However, put it alongside another cotton T-shirt labeled as a premium at $99, and people will see the $40 one as cheap. That type of anchoring is super popular with digital marketing solutions pricing, such as web hosting.

Clever marketing uses cognitive biases to persuade.
The anchoring effect happens subliminally on everyone, experts and non-experts- learning about it doesn’t change.

2. Create a Need

Creating a need or increasing the appeal of an already existing one is a powerful method of persuasion.

This type of persuasion appeals to a person’s basic need for love, shelter, self-actualization, and self-esteem. All business startups hinge on meeting a need in the audience or demographic they choose to serve.

That is useful for persuading your customers to buy the product once it hits the market. You can use this strategy to sell your products by telling potential customers that they should buy your product because it will make them happy, loved, safe, and admired.

People go for Uber because it meets the need for safety, household brands like Chanel and Giorgio Armani for fame and class.

Already online with your business? Increase your conversion rate with a step by step guidebook on email marketing and digital marketing strategies: Dominate Your Market

3. Make an Appeal to Social Needs

Another effective persuasion technique that you can use in your business is to appeal to the desire to be popular. A good example is how companies use television commercials to persuade viewers to buy products.

Persuasion using social appeal focuses on motives and customer needs such as status, fame, respect, recognition, etc.

It is a fact that you can convince a person to buy a product if they see that everybody is buying it. That’s why people check reviews before making a purchase.
Influencer marketing is also based on this principle.

Some excellent examples of brands with high sales because of social appeal include WordPress, YouTube, Masterclass’s celebrity endorsements. All these are part of social proof based on popularity.

If you want to understand your target market or audience, you can also read: 8 Keys to Understanding Your Target Market As a Small Business Owner

4. Start With a Foot in the Door

Another effective method for getting people to comply with a request is the “foot in the door” technique. It entails persuading someone to agree to a small request, followed by a much larger one. You can get your foot in the door by convincing them to agree to a small initial favor, making the person more likely to comply with a bigger request later.

How does this work?

When starting with low prices and increasing them gradually. A company like Apple has been increasing its prices over the years despite protests. People use the initial price as a reference point seeing the increase as a small one and accept it.

5. First, Go Big, and Then Go Small

This method is the inverse of the foot in the door approach, which requires you to start with a broad, often unrealistic request. The chances are that the person will refuse, allowing you to respond with a much smaller request, which is more likely to be accepted. People frequently feel obligated to respond to such offers.

Already running a business online? Increase conversions with this guidebook on how to find, nurture potential clients and build a customer database: Dominate Your Market

6. Use a Powerful USP

Apart from persuading using emotions and their hearts, you can also reach them using their brains- rational appeal. You can use logic with measurable results indicating statistics, facts, or benefits. That is usually a company’s unique selling proposition.

If someone told you they wanted to sell you a cup of coffee at $5, for instance, you would think it ridiculous. Yet Starbucks does, and thousands pay for it. Starbuck isn’t just selling coffee, it has created a lifestyle and culture around it with its unique flavors and relaxing cafe ambiance- the benefit/USP.

Logical fallacies are not uncommon in customer persuasion, but giving honest, tangible results, nothing can match that in sales.

In Summary

These are just a few effective techniques you can employ to persuade people to buy your products or services. Look for examples of persuasion in your daily life and consider which ones you might be able to apply to your business.

Be knowledgeable, learn more, apply and keep testing what works for your market demographics

Learn how to create a social media and email marketing campaign with this package: Dominate Your Market.


The Top 10 Leadership Strategies to Create Winning Teams

The Top 10 Leadership Strategies to Create Winning Teams

A winning team has a strong sense of teamwork. Building a winning team takes more than getting a group of people with the right mix of professional skills to work together. They must blend and move in harmony like a well-oiled machine. They are highly productive, communicate efficiently, collaborate, and innovate in an environment of mutual respect. A winning team always has clear goals, strong leadership, and diplomatic means of conflict resolution. As a leader, you know you have a winning team when everything is well organized and everybody knows their duty. But this is easier said than done.

What do leaders do to achieve this goal for the business?
Well, hiring great talent is good; delegating to allow autonomy is great for motivation. Nevertheless, what is better is being present as a harmonizing influence to ensure the group works well and focuses on the priorities. Gaining such levels of success takes excellent leadership skills and effort on the part of the leader. According to, leaders of successful teams ensure that all members have fulfilled their assigned duties. Luckily, there are some strategies that help leaders to create a winning team. These are ten time-tested tips that can apply to building organizational teams with employees as few as five to as many as thousands.

1. Build on Strengths

One trait common among leaders with high-performing teams is that they consistently encourage members to use their strengths every day. They focus on building the talents of the people around them. Recent studies indicate that strength-based leadership boosts the performance and output of employees in workplaces. In addition, another research by Liquidplanner shows that building on the strengths of team members is more effective in elevating performance than trying to improve flaws. Carry an audit for your team and assign them accordingly.

2. Foster Psychological Safety

The number one struggle for employees in workplaces is the thought of underperforming, failure, and making mistakes. Psychological safety ensures that the team can work without worry and fear of the consequences of such incidences. As a leader, creating space for vulnerability helps with this. Leaders who practice vulnerable leadership build trust among members, thus, creating winning teams. For instance, leaders who use suggestion boxes or anonymous messaging applications, receive continuous streams of feedback and truly understand their team members. As a leader, you should seek feedback, listen, and show that failure sometimes happens. According to the advisory board, leaders build winning teams by motivating their members that a mistake is not a sign of defeat but a step towards growth.

3. Manage Conflict

Teams that perform do not necessarily run without friction. Disagreements are natural in-group settings. Depending on how you deal with them, they produce either positive or negative outcomes. When you deal with them openly and fast, they strengthen and bring the unit closer. Although avoiding conflict is the best, high-performing teams may engage in conflict that is productive and healthy. According to tools-here, leaders of winning teams solve conflict using various styles such as compromising, collaborating, and competing.

4. Build Relationships

Leaders of winning teams build professional capacity through good work relationships. At the heart of effective relations are trust, acceptance, and open communication. Tap into your emotional intelligence to improve your interactions with colleagues.

5. Encourage Team Communication

Teamwork is necessary to create a high-performing team. Typically, people grow closer through interaction. Therefore, encourage open and honest conversations where everyone can express their opinions without fear of reproach. Leaders who encourage effective communication among team members in the workplace often yield favorable outcomes such as greater agility, smoother team building, increased focus, diminished workload, and efficient performance. According to Forbes, leaders ought to improve the quality of communication in the workplace, to ensure that members have purposeful communication, which is key for creating a winning team.

6. Manage Time and Productivity

For teams to be successful, time management and productivity must be a priority. Juggling multiple tasks and working under pressure or remotely can often lead to stress and wasted time. However, there are ways to help streamline workflow and improve overall productivity. Watch the video to learn how:

By learning how to manage your time efficiently, you can help your team achieve its goals.

7. Establish Ground Rules

It is vital to lay down rules for operation even more, where you are dealing with a cross-cultural team. These include decision-making, reporting, communication, and frequency of meetings. The uniformity accorded by the guidelines will help reduce friction. A report by Harvard shows that leaders who set ground rules and consistently enforce them are likely to create winning teams because the rules can substantially improve how the team makes decisions and solves problems.

8. Manage Diversity

Leading a diverse group is inevitable. Differences play a significant role in breaking down team cohesion. If you are to build a solid team, prioritize managing the work culture to accommodate the diverse people on your team. According to PeopleScout, leaders who can successfully manage diversity in the workplace are likely to have a competitive advantage over others due to enhanced innovation, differentiation, and employer branding.

9. Be a Team Member

Do not forget to be present. Leading from the front is an excellent approach to leadership that allows the team leader to be a role model and maintain effective communication. When a team leader guides by behavior rather than words, the members are inspired and emulate their leader, thus creating a winning team.

10. Evaluate Progress

A leader is a facilitator. That means you periodically check to ensure everyone is still on track with his or her role and contribution to the goal. The evaluation keeps teams in line and guarantees results. A leader can use various tools to evaluate the performance of their employees to ensure that they become more successful and stay ahead of the competition. These evaluation tools include key performance indicators, performance appraisals, 360-degree feedback, personal development plans, and management by objective.


Even as you strive to build a winning team, remember that most go through the stages of development before they start to produce efficiently. The model by Bruce Tuckman presents these as forming, storming, norming, and then performing. In addition, for a leader to develop a winning team, they must be part of the team and guide by example.


Three Effective Ways to Increase Customer Trust

Three Effective Ways to Increase Customer Trust

Building trust with customers is one of the most important goals for new businesses. Potential customers want to know that they are dealing with a reputable and dependable company that will deliver on time and to their satisfaction.

While getting customers to spend money is a great way to start any business, the only way to get them to buy from you again is to build a healthy relationship based on positive experiences. Therefore, customer trust is crucial to developing and fostering long-term relationships with your core targets. In addition, increasing customer trust enables a business to provide better customer experiences, enhances loyalty, and retains more clients.

Here are three effective ways to increase customer trust.

1. Make Help Desk Resources Available

The best way to show your customers that their concerns are important to your company is to create a comprehensive customer service department that is accessible via multiple contact methods. Entrepreneurs willing to nurture customers should learn about social media and email marketing. 

You will want to offer assistance via phone, email, web forms, and online chat. In addition, by utilizing a centralized interface, you can use help desk software to manage your IT support needs, save time, and make things easier.

Availing a customer service desk enhances process efficiency, thus increasing customer trust. Most businesses are systems of interconnected departments working harmoniously. Although solving customer issues is the responsibility of the customer service department, some customer problems may require the intervention of another department. Hence, availing a customer service desk will act as a centralized venue for receiving all the communications from the clients and channeling them to the appropriate department for various solutions. For example, if a client complains about purchasing substandard goods, the help desk resource will direct the issue to the quality control department to address it.

Businesses with help desk resources provide proactive customer support that boosts customer trust.

Traditional customer service only offered reactive support, in that, customers had to contact the support team for problems to be resolved. Currently, advanced help desk resources are enabling businesses to offer proactive customer support to their clients. For example, a business can predict a problem such as a delayed delivery in a certain area due to logistics turmoil and notify the other customers in the area about the issue rather than waiting to receive multiple complaints. According to Help Scout, Trader Joe’s, Rackspace, Ritz-Carlton, Wistia, CVS, Buffer, JetBlue, and StudioPress are some of the companies with the best customer services.

2. Accurate Product and Service Representation

Only promise what you can consistently deliver

Once you have established a dependable support system that is up and running smoothly, you can avoid customer dissatisfaction by making it a policy only to promise what you can consistently deliver. This will also assist you in promoting an impeccable brand reputation.

In addition, make every effort to describe the features accurately while avoiding the use of tricky fine print or hidden fees. You should also clearly outline your terms of service so that all of your customers know what to expect from your company each time they do business with you. You may also want to consider using high-quality images and videos to show your customers what they will be getting ahead of time to instill trust in first-time customers.

Accurate product and service representation increases customer satisfaction because the customer gets the product or service that was described in the sales pitch. While most clients expect and appreciate accurate product or service descriptions, misrepresentation or dishonest descriptions are likely to cause customer dissatisfaction and consequently cause customer distrust.

When customers grow to trust your brand, it is an invaluable asset to your business. When customers trust your brand, they are likely to come back for more products and even recommend your brand to their friends, networks, and family.

Forbes shows that transparent companies such as Oatly, Southwest Airlines, and Patagonia continue to make profits due to increased customer trust. Therefore, we can confidently attest that accurate product and service representation increases customer trust and consequently elevates customer loyalty.

3. Communication and Presentation are Critical

One of the most important steps you can take to build trust with your customers is always being available to them and presenting your company with utmost professionalism. The initial belief is primarily motivated by aesthetic appeal. However, ongoing trust in a company can only be gained through great products and customer service accompanied by stellar support for each customer. Once you have won over your customers with your initial offering, it is critical to building the trust necessary to keep them as a customer for life. This will take time, but with the right approach and commitment to putting your customers first, you can do it.

Great communication skills such as transparency, providing multiple communication channels, getting to understand your customers, quick responses, and inclusion of live chat in the business website can help an enterprise build customers. Companies that effectively communicate and understand their client’s needs, eventually provide more relevant solutions than companies that just depend on traditional communication.

Responding quickly to any inquiry by the customers enhances customer satisfaction and clients find such companies reliable.

In addition, businesses that offer more channels of communication give their customers the freedom to select the most convenient and cheapest channel. Customers are likely to trust a business with multiple communication channels as it is an indication that the enterprise is committed to serving its customers.


Developing robust relationships with your clients is vital for the success of your business. Increasing the level of customer trust is a fundamental way to strengthen your customer relationship. Building customer trust attracts new clients and enhances customer retention. Availing help desk resources, accurate representation of products or services, and effective communication are some of the proven ways to increase customer trust in your business.


COVID 19 and the Business Landscape(Why Small Business Start-ups are Taking Off)

COVID 19 and the Business Landscape: Why Small Business Start-ups are Taking Off

The Coronavirus hit at the close of 2019, but its severity and global impact spread at an alarming rate reaching a worldwide scale by March of 2020. From this point on, business in all economic sectors took a progressive downward trend thanks to the disruption. Many downsizing and others completely shutting down. Just weeks after the onset of the pandemic many small businesses had experienced dislocations. From the PNAS survey of 5,800 small businesses affiliated with Alignable these statistics confirm the above trend.

Source: PNAS.ORG

The Professional service industries were less impacted by the crisis because they were able to better transition to remote work than the entertainment and hospitality industries.

However, small businesses are no strangers to crises. They are survivors that thrive on the innovative minds of optimistic entrepreneurs. In the face of challenges, they either adopt or morph into entirely new ventures.

That has been the case for small businesses since 2021. After the initial shock of the pandemic and lockdown, business owners started responding by adopting new strategies to survive the new landscape while more people started venturing into entrepreneurship.

The U.S Census Bureau reported that 4.4 million new businesses launched in 2020, 23.4% higher than the record in 2019. Here is the even more shocking news, in January 2021 alone, over half million new small businesses came into the market..

Small Businesses Statistics 2020-2021:

Source: US Census Bureau

Florida recorded the highest number of new business applications with close to half a million entries, followed by Carlifornia, Texas, Georgia and Newyork. However, Georgia had the highest record based on new business formations performance per county with a growth of 56%. Both North and South Dakota experienced a decline in the number of small businesses launched in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Economic experts theorize that the reasons for this surge in new start-ups despite the crisis are accessibility to technology, increased creativity from spending more time at home, and spare time.

Challenges give rise to creativity. It is a basic human instinct to survive. That is why entrepreneurs are born during tough times.

Covid 19 brought about layoffs, business shutdowns, and furloughs that pushed people to look for alternative means of survival.

Reasons for the Rise of Start-Ups During the Pandemic

Source: Salesforce Report SAL706

According to studies and surveys conducted by various organizations into entrepreneurship during the Covid 19 pandemic, the top reasons for the upsurge include the following:

Increased Creativity

With a long hiatus from work, lockdown, and too much time on their hands, people had to get creative to beat the boredom, if not for anything else. Fitness trainers started online video sessions, therapists and teachers launched virtual sessions and classes, employed professionals joined freelance sites to offer their skills.

The Desire to Be Self-Employed

Another reason for the increase in start-ups is the desire to be in charge. The pandemic only enhanced this desire.


The closure of many businesses necessitated the additional income stream, which led to most people venturing into side hustles. For others, the pandemic accelerated their plans of going entrepreneurial. The survey by Salesforce has shown that 12.6% of new businesses were opportunities people recognized during the pandemic.

Availability of Less Capital Intensive Side Hustles

Without the need for office space, a big team, or inventory, the barrier to entry drastically dropped for people interested in starting a business. Studies indicate new start-ups launched on a budget of fewer than 10,000 dollars, with half that number having below 5000 dollars capital. Here are a few online businesses to start on a 1000-bucks budget

Technological Advantage

Starting a business has never been easier than today in the age of technology. The rise of freelance consultancies is proof of that. With layoffs and furloughs at work, most professionals transitioned into freelancing thanks to the internet. The digital capabilities made it easier to start a business without physical space. From fitness enthusiasts offering training over video calls to professionals giving services via app-based or job platforms, the opportunities just became endless.(Get access to business start up training: From business planning to website creation and marketing strategies)

Small Businesses Trends and Opportunities for Growth During the Pandemic Beyond 2022

The rise of the post-pandemic generation of businesses is highly characterized by technological adoption and application.

Because of the lockdown and staying at home, of course, most people had to carry out their interactions with customers online.

Some of the key trends of the new start-ups in 2021 include:

  • They operate remotely
  • They use digital marketing activities
  • They apply modern customer experiences such as mobile-based communication, curbside pick-ups, etc.
  • They prioritize customer safety

Trends in Business Communication and Operation Software

Source: Salesforce Report SAL706

Opportunities for Business Growth in 2022

The pandemic brought in challenges that necessitated solutions and the savvy entrepreneurs seized the opportunities to be the problem-solvers. According to Salesforce, over 60% of startup owners ventured into new markets. Another 61% of existing owners developed new products and services to suit the impacts of the pandemic.

Technology was also a major player in propelling and enabling new startups growth.

Lastly, the government relief programs went a long way to create favorable conditions. These include federal assistance programs such as credit access and guarantees, salary subsidies, tax deferrals, and taking care of household members.


With so many innovative minds coming up with creative solutions for this crisis, it’s no surprise that these agile thinkers are now poised as some of today’s most successful young business ventures- not just because they were able to survive but thrive during one of our toughest times but because they’re great at solving problems.

Tools to Start Your Business

If you are interested in growing your business through digital marketing strategies or want some help making strategic decisions, reach us or make an appointment for a free consultation..

Use this online marketing ebook to start a social media and email marketing plan: