Home/2020/February

Share the Goodness

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

If there was one quote that best summarizes how Powerhouse Planning CEO Jessica Bertsch approaches both her personal and professional life, it would be this one by Winston S. Churchill.

When Jessica founded Powerhouse, she promised herself that she would always “Share the Goodness” by giving back. Not once she was established as a new business. Not when annual revenue reached a certain point. Not just during the holidays or on nationally recognized days of giving like Giving Tuesday. She committed to giving back 10% of all profits in a POWERful way.

In the early years of Powerhouse Planning, that promise was kept by helping people and organizations in need and by giving in special ways in the communities in which she has lived. As a military spouse who has relocated several times, Jessica left an impact in every community she called home.

As Powerhouse grew, so did the reach of the Share the Goodness program. Jessica carefully curated a highly skilled, predominantly military-connected team who shared her commitment to good works and deeds. And the program’s reach broadened to support the causes the Powerhouse team was passionate about.

The goal remains to dedicate no less than 10% of annual revenue to making a difference in our communities and around the world. Every year, the percentage of income dedicated to the Share the Goodness program has increased. And with these increases and the company’s growth, the impact we’ve been able to make has grown as well.

Together we are…

Ending childhood hunger.
In Brevard County, The Children’s Hunger Project (TCHP) partners with local elementary schools to fight childhood hunger and malnutrition. With more than half of the school children eligible for free or reduced-price meal programs, school lunches are available, but weekend meals are less of a certainty. TCHP helps elementary schools to provide food for the weekend to as many kids as possible each week.

Tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Around the world, World Vision is transforming communities, providing emergency relief, and bringing hope to 3.5 million vulnerable children in nearly 100 countries. Children like Ambiya—a seven-year-old who has stolen our hearts (and shares her birth year with Powerhouse Planning). We’ve been thrilled to be a part of Ambiya’s life as a sponsor for over four years and love getting progress reports on how she’s growing and thriving.

Bringing hope and love to Uganda.
We learned that Danielle Jackson was planning to combine two passions—photography and a heart for service to take a mission trip to Uganda with Show Mercy International. Empowering professionals and being of service both really speak to the heart of our company, and we were happy to be able to help her meet her fundraising goal to make the trip possible. You can learn more about her adventure here.

We’re also helping cure Alzheimer’s, providing holiday baskets to families in need, giving scholarships to incoming college students, putting together goodies for communities impacted by disaster, sending some love in care packages to service members overseas, and more.

In addition to our Share the Goodness program,

● We regularly highlight nonprofits doing great work to increase visibility of their efforts. (Make sure you’re signed up for our newsletter to read all about them here.)

● We create and share free resources for individuals and small business owners because we want you to live your best personal and professional lives. (Find free career resources, life resources, and military kid resources here!)

● We provide flexible employment opportunities to military-connected professionals (100+ military spouses to date).

At Powerhouse Planning, we make a living providing high-quality services. And we make a life Sharing the Goodness and making a difference.

2020-02-23T21:20:13+00:00February 23rd, 2020|

20 Tips to Take Your Career/Business to the Next Level

Developing a successful career and building a flourishing business have many similar steps. While you are personally developing your experience, education, and leadership skills as an individual, businesses are constantly evolving through their experience, staff training events or courses, and the growth of leaders within the company.

As we’ve highlighted in our January 2020 blog, Powerhouse Planning is providing a wealth of knowledge to bolster everyone’s 2020 success, publishing a new article each month that gives 20 tips on a new subject. This month, we’re focusing on 20 tips to take your career and/or business to the next level.

Twenty tips may feel like a lot; it may be overwhelming at first. To ease your mental state, these 20 tips are broken down into four easier-to-digest categories: development, habits and planning, leadership, and marketing.
Whether you are taking your career or business to the next level in 2020, we want you to know that we support you in your goals!

Development
Tip #1: Become a proverbial sponge.
Kids are often referred to as walking, talking sponges, and for a good reason. They are constantly in a state of learning, which is something many businesses and individuals should take a lesson from. Lifelong learning doesn’t mean collecting degrees, though if that’s you, I’ll tip my proverbial hat to your determination. Information is a constant in our digital age. Being a lifelong learner can mean researching the areas that mean the most to your company, like target audience, marketing research, or education and experience requirements for the dream job you’ve always wanted.

Tip #2: Create a growth strategy.
Whether you are planning for a project management role, a certain caliber of income, or year-over-year growth projections, create a growth plan. Personal development plans are similar to the business version of growth strategizing. It’s the process of creating an action plan based on awareness, values, reflection, goal-setting, and planning for personal development within the context of a career, education, relationship, or for self-improvement [1]. Both versions have what equates to a mission statement, strength or competencies, education and training, stages or steps, and metrics to indicate a measurement of time and success.

Tip #3: Cultivate a portfolio.
A well-thought-out, beautifully designed portfolio is more than the perfect image and glowing testimonials, although those are key aspects. Most small businesses aren’t aware they are building a portfolio through the use of past client folders or in-depth interaction archives with vendors, prospective clients, or products. In many cases, these portfolios can be for the creator’s eyes only, a reference guide of what you’ve done, how you’ve improved, and how your current client, project, etc. make a difference in the grand scheme of things. As an individual working on your career, a portfolio early on may consist of papers or projects from school you’re proud of, but it won’t stay this way as you branch out in business. Consider portfolios of personal accomplishments as well, like memory books. We live in a global age that highlights the importance of diversity, and travel may be your key to developmental success.

Tip #4: Analyze for future growth.
Reflection and self-awareness on a personal or business level are paramount to success, which is where a SWOT analysis comes into play. If this is a new acronym for you, it stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The best part of SWOT analyses is that they are versatile. Analyze your professional status strengths and weaknesses, what opportunities you face or may face in the future, and what threats may emerge. Take this into the academic realm for completing a semester of classes after being out of the classroom for years, or when you’re trying a remote career path for the first time. In business, SWOT analyses are used in every facet of a business, from initial conception to communication strategizing, marketing, fiscal planning, or staff training in a small, medium, or larger-sized company. SWOT analyses don’t need to be in-depth, but you’ll find that after you start, you may spend much longer than intended mapping out the four sections.

Tip #5: Make someone’s day.
In business, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plans may appear to be a potential revenue drain initially but can pay off exponentially long term. Look at companies like TOMS Shoes, which made millions of dollars with their “buy one, give one” policy or a “one-for-one” approach. This policy launched the small company into stardom early on, and though the company faced bankruptcy rumors in 2015, they’ve pulled through this year by broadening their CSR approach and updating it to current social responsibility movements, while never forgetting the one-for-one policy that set them apart from all the other shoe manufacturers [2]. Don’t worry, though, if you’re building a career and not a business. Sometimes the smallest acts of kindness can make the biggest impact. Consider offering services pro bono to someone in need to add to your portfolio or professional references. Don’t stop with these CSR suggestions on a personal, local community, or global scale, and perhaps you’ll find a market for a service or product you can turn into a company all your own.

Habits and Planning
Tip #6: Learn to take risks.
Risk-taking may sound potentially detrimental to your health or your business’s well-being, but in fact, risk-taking helps you face your fears and meet challenges. As an individual, it helps you learn new skills, builds self-esteem, empowers you to continue to try new things, and creates opportunities. Risk-taking breaks you out of your comfort zone and allows change to happen. In business, managing risk and determining when to take appropriate amounts of risk are major aspects of both study and specialization.

Tip #7: Embody mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a state of active attention to the present moment, specifically observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment [3]. It is important to acknowledge both the good and bad moments in business because lessons can be learned from every situation. You can start right now by closing your eyes and taking a minute to focus on your breathing. Take a moment to sort through each thought that surfaces before dismissing it. If your mind focuses on a specific upcoming event, try not to feel the emotions around the situation, but focus on the details relating to the deadline, project, goal, etc. Your determined focus may bring new insight.

Tip #8: Be realistic with time and resources.
Our perception of how our time is spent may be skewed. Whether you’re running a business or working toward career goals, time management is often one of the more challenging problems you may encounter. You may believe that you spend about 30 minutes answering emails each morning, but the reality may be much different. One way to establish honest representations of time is to track how you use your time at work or in a business building by downloading an app such as Roadmap, Time Doctor, or Calendar [4]. These apps are not only wonderful additions to team settings in the workplace, but can also help analyze time usage and make appropriate changes to improve productivity.

Tip #9: To-do lists can be your friend.
It’s true—to-do lists don’t always seem like a friend, especially if your inbox is swamped, your team has multiple approaching deadlines, and you walk into work to find a new pile of paperwork on your desk. In business, whether you’re the CEO or a staff member, to-do lists can feel like the enemy, but they do not need to be. Before you leave work each day, write down the top three to five tasks that need to be completed the next day by order of importance. Seems pretty easy, but sometimes deciding which tasks need to be completed first can take longer than you expect. Don’t fret. You’ll get faster at analyzing the priority list, and if you continue to struggle, create a priority matrix [5]. When you walk into the office—remotely or otherwise—you already have your daily starting point. If a couple of additional items show up in your inbox overnight or on your desk in the morning, add them to the priority list. Start at the top and work your way down. To-do lists can change your productivity levels when you simply optimize how you use them.

Tip #10: Eliminate half work.
This may sound like a silly concept, but we live in an age of constant distraction, which has caused us to split our focus between what should be our priority and everything else. It is very common to find ourselves balancing emails with messages and to-do lists while also trying to accomplish other tasks, like preparing for a meeting. A strategy that may work for you is to block [6] a certain amount of time in the morning and afternoon to minor items. During time blocks, ensure that the task at hand is your only focus, and you’ll find your productivity and time management naturally improve.

Leadership
Tip #11: Learn to delegate and outsource.
There is a reason these skills are often hard to learn. For some, it can be difficult to let someone else do work that they used to do. For others, they don’t have the time to train someone else to complete outsourceable tasks. The important consideration is that both delegating and outsourcing are time-saving devices that every individual and business leader should master. You can hand over responsibilities to team members who are qualified or hire outside to a contractor or freelancer.

Tip #12: Lead by example.
Remember back to show and tell in school, where each child gets to share something during circle time? Each month was a new theme, such as art, summer vacation, pets, and so forth. Leadership is about setting the example—showing others, not just telling. If you want to set an example for punctuality, make sure you get to work on time or early. If ethical behavior is paramount to your company, make sure as the CEO you lead by example both at work and in your personal life. Treat everyone—in-person or online—with courtesy and professionalism to set the tone for yourself, and your employees will follow.

Tip #13: Communicate effectively.
Communication is more than what is spoken. In fact, 55% of communication is nonverbal, 38% is through tone of voice, and only 7% is verbal [7]. As a professional or a business leader, it is important to be aware that the way you stand, your tone, and how you use your hands all affect how others hear and perceive your message. This is especially true as the world continues to diversify, and cultural perceptions, norms, and personal biases begin to play a part in how we communicate with those around us [8].

Tip #14: Ensure meetings are productive.
In this fast-paced age, time certainly feels like money. Naturally, it may feel essential to limit tangents and other time-wasting aspects of meetings. At the beginning of a meeting, state the goals regarding a decision or tasks that need to be accomplished [9]. If you use PowerPoint presentations as a professional, in business, or as a leader in your field, use more pictures than words and be sure to end the presentation and meeting in general with a summary of the decisions made and the next steps for the group. Another wonderful tip for boosting productivity and energy within the group is to take a small group outside on a walk or somewhere outside to sit. If your meetings are online, let everyone know what the agenda is ahead of time so the meeting can begin without delay and save time for other offline tasks.

Tip #15: Be emotionally aware and present.
Business is ultimately about relationships between people. To make a meaningful connection, you need to be emotionally intelligent as a leader and professional. It is essential to be sensitive to different points of view, different backgrounds, and experiences. Sometimes it is a challenge when the business world pushes us to think solely about what is best for the team, company, or brand, but don’t forget to have a heart. Be mindful that your tone in a phone conversation, Zoom call, or conference meeting can say more than the words you speak [10].

Marketing
Tip #16: Follow the 80-20 rule.
The Pareto principle is also known as the 80-20 rule, where 80% of results come from 20% of the effort put in [11]. This principle is commonly used in sales, as 80% of sales are typically from about 20% of the customers. In content marketing, another common use is that 80% of content should be educational to about 20% advertising or promoting a product, service, etc. In an opposite view, 20% of a blog’s content generates 80% of its traffic. The use of this principle is unlimited, and it applies to every aspect of life. Consider it while growing your career and you may be surprised what you uncover.

Tip #17: Build a community.
If you wish to grow your career, surround yourself with those who challenge you, expand your thinking, and support you. Create a network of like-minded people in your field on LinkedIn to create meaningful networking connections and vouch for one another’s skills. Genuine expertise draws other experts, so set yourself up with a blog, a portfolio, or another format that showcases your expertise and share with your community and those you meet. These strategies apply equally in business, especially when marketing a service or product. Create a community of people who believe in your brand, your company, your products or services, and you’ll grow naturally and with meaning.

Tip #18: Remember who you are.
Everything you communicate, either verbally or through body language, is sending a message to those around you. The same way a strong company culture projects its brand, protect your reputation as a professional by keeping a level of mindfulness about the words you choose and the actions you perform. You know yourself best. Start to set yourself apart as a leader within professional communities or local region and find out what can be accomplished.

Tip #19: Establish a web presence.
Professional contractors, businesses, individual brands, and everyone in between have a form of web presence these days. Traditional company/business websites, a blog, or social media channels are commonplace. In fact, 90% of brands use social media to increase brand awareness, and astoundingly most businesses maintain between four and ten social profiles [12]. You can use your online presence like a portfolio or provide guides/services of your own. Almost anything is possible with a shared hosting account, a domain name, and a website template from the top website design companies like WordPress or Squarespace, whether you’re an expert or not.

Tip #20: Don’t forget the root of business.
The world has become a globally connected technological network of opportunity. The result often feels like an extremely fast-paced world, but it is important to remember that people buy from people and that won’t change. It is easy to get lost behind your laptop and communicate almost entirely via the web, especially if you are working remotely or run a remote-based company. There is something to be said for the business conferences that pop up throughout the year that bring professionals and businesses together to network in person, during informal or formal meetings.

2020-03-04T18:15:29+00:00February 1st, 2020|