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Stocks have soared this year, but job growth has been slow, hamstrung by modest economic growth. The election is close, and there is a lot of uncertainty about future economic policies. The long-term trends remain positive despite many short-term concerns that could trigger more volatile markets. As a result, it's a good time to consider bracing your portfolio by improving its diversification and making sure the mix of investments is aligned with your long-term financial goals.

We can collect buying habits of our customer, create customer profiles, and understand our target demographic to know WHO our customer is… but do we really know WHAT our customers want? It’s more than just the product or service we offer. No matter what industry, customers want us to provide not only great products, but they want us to be the type of person they can trust to get the job done.

Here are the seven things they want to see in you:

What gets said is certainly important, but who says it can make a bigger difference to the people who matter most–your employees. So, who should do the talking? Here's how to decide:

When there's good news, it's never you. OK, maybe you really did do all the work. Maybe you really did overcome every obstacle. Maybe without you, that high-performance team would have been anything but. Maybe you really were the hero. It doesn't matter. Give someone else the glory. Pick a key subordinate who played a major role. Pick a person who could use a confidence boost from a healthy dose of public appreciation. Everyone already knows you were in charge, so celebrate the accomplishment through other people. Stand back and let your employees shine. 

When there's bad news, it's always you. It doesn't matter if a supplier made the mistake. It doesn't matter if a key investor backed out. It doesn't matter if forces beyond your control negatively affected your business. When you're in charge, you must always deliver bad news. To your employees, to your team, to customers and clients, you are the company. Support the decisions of your partners, even if you privately disagree. Answer tough questions. Take responsibility. Model the behavior you want your employees to display.

When there's no news, no one speaks. Everyone hates a useless meeting–except, of course, the person who called the meeting. Everyone hates a meeting that kicks off with, "I know there isn't much for us to talk about, but I still thought it was important that we get together..." If a meeting will not result in decisions or plans or actions, cancel it. Let your employees do something productive instead. That way, the next time, you will have a reason to meet.

Source: Jeff Haden

When a crisis situation develops, time is of the essence. There’s a saying: “If you’re not quick, you’re not relevant.” That’s why companies need to have a crisis communication plan in place before a potentially hazardous situation arises. While there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter” crisis plan, the following information will help your company begin assembling an effective plan.

Step 1: Establish the Crisis Team.

Consider all the aspects of your company—management, operations, internal and external communication, customer service, and legal. During the crisis, this team bears the responsibility for making decisions and spearheading communication.

Step 2: Identify and Prepare the Spokespeople.

Identify the person who will be the official “voice” of the company should a crisis develop and make sure that person is trained accordingly.

Step 3: Develop processes and protocols.

Having a set of approved procedures in place ahead of time is key to responding in a timely manner and protecting the company’s brand.

Step 4: Prepare for Social Media’s Impact on Crisis Communication

Online monitoring during a crisis is critical. Be prepared to jump into the conversation to correct facts, answer questions, and share the brand’s side of the story and steps taken to fix the situation.

Along those same lines, “new” crisis communication means you shouldn’t solely rely on the news media to disseminate your message. Leverage social media with real-time updates via Twitter and Facebook in a crisis.

Step 5: Brainstorm Possible Scenarios & Responses. Role Play. Repeat.

In any business, there are dozens of potential crisis situations that could ruin a brand … especially if poor communication makes the situation even worse. Work with your team to identify these potential situations and develop a “response template” in the crisis communication plan. The more preparation you can do ahead of time, the quicker you’ll be able to respond if a crisis does strike.

Source: Heather Whaling

Good customer service is the foundation of any business. Price reductions and special promotions may bring customers in, but to keep them, show clients you have their best interests at heart. When a client feels the he is being taken care of, he will be happy, and in turn share this happiness with his friends. This is one way to grow a business, so plant the seeds of customer service. Here are some tips to help you cultivate your client dealings on a daily basis:

Be available to clients all the time. Whether it is by phone or e-mail, in this day and age, people want answers and they want them immediately. Make sure you are able to respond as fast as possible to the inquiries of clients. If you are not at your desk, have calls forwarded to your cell phone, or check e-mail often and respond to it promptly and completely.

Be honest and follow through. When you extend an offer to a client, first make sure that the offer is feasible, and then do everything in your power to make sure the client receives the service (or discount, or promotion) as soon as possible. Follow up with the client to make sure everything went smoothly and offer assistance for anything else they may need. 
Listen to your customers. Don't make them ask or tell you something twice. Follow through on their requests the first time. Take this step even further by anticipating their needs and have an answer ready when they ask for it. 

Throw in something extra. It's the little things that count, and when you get to know your clients, you'll understand their needs. But knowing and doing are two separate things. Prove to your clients that you are there to help them along in their journey by doing everything within your business' power to make their lives easier and more efficient, even if that means going the extra mile. 

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