The Ultimate Guide to Employer Branding

Employer Branding

Why is it Important to Have an Employer Branding Strategy?

Today’s candidates have access to a wealth of information about which jobs are available and which companies are hiring. The modern candidate will spend time researching both the job and the employer to identify which options are most appealing.

A strong employer branding strategy can be critical to your recruiting efforts. That said, a large portion of organizations haven’t invested in this area yet. A survey by iHire found that nearly 40% of U.S. companies do not have an employer branding strategy. This is a major oversight when it comes to creating awareness about your employer brand, and an opportunity for those who plan to capitalize on its power.

Your employer branding strategy dictates how candidates perceive your company, what they experience during the hiring process, and if hired, what happens to ensure they remain with your company. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that candidates understand your value proposition as an employer. In other words, they should clearly understand what your company can promise them in return for their commitment.

“An employer brand strategy starts with your employer value proposition. It defines the real experience of working for your company and articulates the shared expectations between employer and employee,” says Valerie Katz, director of employer brand and employee experience at ZoomInfo.

5 Steps to Improve Your Employer Brand

1. Analyze Your Company Culture

If you want candidates to perceive your company as a great place to work, it’s got to deliver. And a strong employer brand starts from within. It’s critical to remember that company culture is the factor that will likely have the most impact — positive or negative — on your employer brand.

In the past, a flashy career page and a few hand-picked testimonials could make any company look like a dream employer. But in today’s hyper-connected world of professional social networks like LinkedIn and employer review sites, word about your company culture travels fast. If your branding efforts promise an experience you don’t actually offer, candidates will figure it out quickly and do their best to warn others about what they experienced.

The best way to gauge the strength of your company culture is to speak directly with your employees. Get a read on how they feel about the subject. Whether through anonymous surveys or face-to-face meetings, find out what they love most about working at your company — and what they’d like to be different. Here are some questions to ask your team about your company culture:

Listening to your employees will not only help you identify weaknesses your company can improve upon, but will also identify strengths you should highlight as part of your employer brand.

2. Develop a Content Strategy to Promote Your Employer Brand

What is employer brand content?

Employer brand content represents the materials you build to inform the broader candidate pool about what it’s like to work at your company. The content you publish on job sites, professional social media networks, review sites, and your company website, as well as the content used in candidate outreach, should all work together to create a positive employer brand image.

Why is it important to have a strong employer brand content strategy?

To build a strong brand as an employer, you must craft a comprehensive, multi-channel content strategy to engage your target candidates. Although an ongoing content strategy is a time-consuming commitment that won’t show results immediately, it sets the tone for how your efforts will ultimately pay off in the long run.

First, consult your candidate personas

Profiles of potential candidates include a set of preferred characteristics like work history, skills, goals, employment preferences, and much more. They can help you personalize recruiting content for your ideal candidates.

For example: let’s say your ideal candidate for an entry-level marketing role values collaboration in their work environment. You can use this information to create a short video of your marketing team working together or a blog post that explains your values around working together within the organization.

Then, tell a story with your employer brand

The goal of your content strategy is to engage candidates on an emotional level. Captivating an audience through a story or narrative adds a personal element that differentiates your employer brand from others.

Through written and visual brand storytelling, talk about the journey of specific employees. These stories can help resonate with candidates, showing your company as a collection of real people rather than faceless workers.

Emphasize your company values

3. Establish an Employee Advocacy Program

Not all of your employees are recruiters, but they’re an integral part of the employer brand-building process. Consider offering incentives to employees who refer new hires, share content, and promote branded information.

Remember: employees who feel valued and appreciated will be more willing to advocate for your company. Recognize and reward your employees’ efforts and they’ll become valuable brand ambassadors.

4. Leverage Social Media

Most recruiters leverage platforms like Twitter and Facebook to post job listings, but that doesn’t contribute much to establishing your brand. Instead, your team can use social media to engage with candidates and share valuable content. Consider creating a separate profile for your recruiting efforts to distinguish your employer branding from your traditional marketing efforts.

5. Test and Measure Your Employer Brand

Improving your employer brand is an ongoing process and may seem hard to quantify. But much like marketers test and measure the success of their campaigns, recruiters should try and evaluate their strategies.

Reviews and ratings

Your company ratings on review sites such as Comparably or Glassdoor are extremely important as they are the first place many candidates go to learn about the quality of your employer brand. Track your ratings over time and identify common critiques that could indicate a larger problem within your company culture.

Download Our Employer Branding eBook

The employer branding strategy in five steps

Step 1: Define Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)

Best Practice: You may find it helpful to turn things around and instead start off by asking yourself: What does not define our company? What are some things we do not stand for?

Step 2: Create a Communication Plan

Too many companies stop at step one. They create their unique EVP, sink a lot of time into it and consider it a done deal. But, now is only the beginning of your journey! You need to communicate your EVP to the world.

To do this, you should take a closer look at your ‘talent target group’ and understand the contact points you have with them. You’ll need to have a deeper understanding of where this contact can take place:

Your EVP is a reflection of what makes your organisation special, but you may need to attune it to your target group. That will most likely come about in the communication channel that you use. With that in mind, make sure you are using channels that make sense for the talent you’re trying to reach.

Step 3: Implement Your Content Strategy

After you have outlined your corporate brand and defined the communication channels you are going to use, it is time to think about your marketing and content. Consider the following:

Best Practice: You should publish social media content regularly so that social media users will follow you on a long-term basis. An editorial calendar should help.

Step 4: Find and Recruit Employees

Now, it is time to harvest the fruits of your labour. In this step, your employer branding initiatives merge with your recruiting initiatives. Because your employer branding feeds directly into your recruitment process, it is now becoming the first point of contact with your company. If you impress at this stage, you will find yourself reaping the rewards.

Step 5: Retain Your Top Talent

You want the employees you recruit to stay at your company. The positive impression they got from the application process should be confirmed in their everyday working life. This means that you will need to constantly keep working on your employer brand.

11 Employer Branding Best Practices

Define Your Goals

Your brand and culture don’t have to be left to chance. You can define what you want your employer brand to be based on your mission, vision, and values. With a plan in place, curate the culture and brand you want to see in your organization.

Define your brand’s goals, including how you want candidates and employees to talk about your business. What sets apart your employee experience and employee value proposition (EVP) from those of your competitors? In what ways can your employer brand support your talent strategy? Determine the elements of your employer brand that are most important to prioritize.

Set Actionable Objectives

With clear priorities for your employer brand in mind, the next step is to set actionable objectives to help you achieve those goals. For each objective, write two or three key results — metrics indicating that you’ve achieved your objective.

An objective could be incorporating your values into job descriptions and performance reviews, for example, to create clearer accountability for behaviors that align with your values. A key result for this objective might be achieving a 25% increase in values-driven behavior throughout the daily course of work.

Use Social Media and SEO to Your Advantage

Your social media channels and content published on your careers site provide opportunities to communicate your brand to potential candidates. Content demonstrating employee life and the experience of working in specific roles conveys your brand and helps candidates decide whether your organization is a good fit.

It’s important that your representation of the employee experience on these channels be accurate and genuine. Misalignment between what candidates expect from the employee experience and what they encounter can break trust. This loss of trust detracts from your employer brand, reduces employee engagement, and potentially leads to higher turnover.

Identify Your Candidate Persona

The best candidates don’t just have the skills you need; they’re also aligned with your values and culture. Define what an ideal candidate who drives your culture forward looks like in terms of skills, behaviors, and aptitudes.

Spell out examples of values-driven behaviors in each role. Once you’ve identified your ideal candidate persona for each role, you can implement assessments to measure those factors in job seekers. Develop behavior-based interview questions to ascertain values alignment during the selection stage of the hiring process.

Audit How Your Brand Is Perceived

It’s important to see how your brand is perceived on the market. Public perceptions of your business as an employer are a significant part of your employer brand. They can either be a strategic talent acquisition tool or a liability to talent attraction strategy. Understanding what people are saying about your brand can provide direction for setting objectives for your employer branding strategy.

Job-review sites like Glassdoor and Fairygodboss are good places to see what current and former employees are saying about your brand. People share their real experiences on these sites, and employers have little control over what’s posted.

However, employers can monitor this content and quickly address any concerns raised by users. Once changes have been implemented, employers can respond to make users aware of how the situation has been handled.

Establish What Makes Your Brand Unique

No employer brand is the same, and your real value lies in your differences. Find those elements that set your brand apart, whether those include your values, your sense of employee camaraderie, or other aspects. These differentiators are among your brand’s biggest assets and selling points for job seekers.

Develop a marketing campaign to communicate these unique factors to candidates. Candidates who are strongly aligned with your brand — and those differentiators in particular — will be most invested in pursuing employment with your company. And those candidates whose values align with yours are more likely to stay engaged and employed with your company longer.

Streamline the Application Experience

Candidate experience is an important factor in employer branding. Your recruitment and employer brand isn’t just for employees: it’s also for candidates who don’t make the cut. Keep your hiring process simple, and prioritize communication with candidates about what’s going on with their application.

When you provide a good candidate experience, you leave a good impression on applicants — even those that don’t make the cut. Their experiences, and what they share with friends and family, contribute to how your employer brand is perceived on the market.

Invest in Your Employees’ Career and Well-Being

Taking care of your employees is crucial to building a positive employer brand. Prioritizing employee health demonstrates your commitment to the workforce, which sits well with employees, candidates, and consumers alike. Provide resources for your workforce’s physical and mental health, and survey employees before adding new benefits to determine what changes will have the biggest impact.

5 Great Employer Branding Examples

Canva

Canva’s careers site puts employee experience front and center with dynamic videos and images showcasing employees at work — and at play. The company emphasizes programs designed to support women in the workplace.

Microsoft

Microsoft puts purpose first with the slogan “Do what you love: Create the future you want” that greets visitors to the careers site. The technology company features employee voices and highlights their stories. The Microsoft careers page even integrates Glassdoor reviews to give candidates a transparent glimpse of life at the company.

SAP’s employer brand highlights opportunities for promotion and internal mobility. The brand emphasizes that each employee experienced a different journey to where they are, and those experiences are highly valued.

Equal Experts

Equal Experts’s career site focuses on the benefits of the community and culture within the company. The page emphasizes inclusion and highlights employee stories from around the globe. The careers page links to the company’s values statement, appealing to candidates who share those values to apply.

Chipotle

Chipotle’s mission-oriented branding encourages candidates to apply and participate in its mission to “cultivate a better world.” The page highlights the benefits of working there, from free food to debt-free degrees — backed up by real statements from employees.

Sources:

https://pipeline.zoominfo.com/recruiting/employer-brand
https://www.personio.com/hr-lexicon/employer-branding-2/
https://www.betterworks.com/magazine/employer-branding-strategy/

Small Business Guide To Call Answering

small business message

Small Business Guide To Call Answering

We’ve all been on the receiving end of a phone message that was delivered incorrectly. If it weren’t so, than The Game of Telephone never would have been created. You know the one, right? The first player relays a message to the second, whispered in their ear. The second whispers it to the next player in line with no repeats. it continues this way through several other people. As the message goes through each set of lips and ears, it changes. After it is whispered to the final person, they say what they think the message was, and everyone gets a good laugh. Because it’s often so wrong. It changed little by little with each listening ear.

Outside of the game of telephone, the same problem comes up. Was it Cheryl who called or Sherry? Shirley? There wasn’t any whispering. There was only one person between the caller and the person who the message was intended for. But there was plenty of opportunity for some confusion.

What happened?

The person taking down the message could have failed to communicate the right message. They could have forgotten to get a name. Or, worse, a return phone number. Taking a phone message is much more than just getting down basic information. It seems like a small part of the whole small business pie. It can fall through the cracks. But it isn’t. Taking down a message incorrectly can mean no call-back for that person. You could potentially ruin the relationship with the person on the other end of the phone.

Slow down.

Contrary to popular belief, the goal of a phone call isn’t to get the person on the other line off the phone as quickly as possible. Not in the mind of some customers, at least. A recent study done by Gallup found that customers prefer their service to be thorough rather than quick and to-the-point. They’d much rather someone take their time and help them out, knowing the job was done correctly. This translates over to message taking as well. Yes, you have a lot of things to do, but the moment the phone rings, your attention goes to that caller.

answer the phone correctly for your small business

cat answering phone2. You Can Make or Break a Caller’s Day with the Words You Say

Now that we’ve covered tone, let’s move onto what you actually say when you pick up the phone. It’s important to immediately introduce yourself and the company you work for. Do not just answer the phone “hello?” This gives the caller zero information as to who they’re talking to or what business they’re calling. Instead, answer the phone (while smiling, of course) and say “Hi this is *your name* with *your company* how may I help you this *time of day (morning, afternoon, evening)*. You can re-work this greeting to whatever matches your speaking style best as long as you are introducing yourself and the company you are representing from the get-go and lastly, are maintaining professionalism, of course.

With that being said, it’s absolutely paramount that you maintain a professional tone throughout the conversation. Try to avoid slang and definitely avoid any language you’d use at a bar with your closest friends. Instead of saying things like “Yeah, I don’t know” say “Let me find out for you.” These small but impactful changes in your language can greatly affect how the caller perceives your business.

Listen Up Buttercup

Our next topic on how to answer the phone is listening. We all know that there is a big difference between hearing someone and actually listening to someone. When someone calls your business, give them your full attention. You may be tempted to multitask, especially if it’s a busy workday. We get it – you have a lot going on. Your boss is pressing you for that assignment you completely forgot about and your mom keeps texting you and asking what cookies mean on ‘the interweb.’ The truth is that multitasking will only distract you from the call and potentially frustrate the caller. In other words, refrain from multitasking at all costs and do your very best to focus on the caller.

We recommend taking notes on every call to ensure that you’re focused. Detailed notes will also only help you in the future. When someone knows that they are being listened to, it establishes a sense of trust and credibility. On the other hand, if you’re typing away, fumbling around in your drawer for that pen you lost, or the worst of them all- eating, the caller may feel unimportant and will take their business elsewhere.

How to Answer the Phone When Your Friend Who Is a Business Partner Calls

It just may happen that you have friends throughout a specific industry or at a competing firm and you may come in contact with them throughout the working day. They may even be prompted to call you, whether for professional reasons or just to see how things are going.

The important thing is to maintain professionalism but without coming across as cold, insensitive, or insincere as doing so will not only cost you your friendship but may also cost you a potential business transaction or even your job. If your friend calls and your friend is a business partner, you have slightly more leeway than if a friend who is not a business partner calls.

Answer the call with a professional introduction as noted above. Address any professional concerns your friend may have, even if your friend isn’t calling with professional concerns. When all professional concerns are addressed, feel free to indulge in the usually friendly banter.

But try to keep the conversation quiet and private while using professional language; doing otherwise may create an air that you are not concerned with the working environment. Having a short, 5-15 minute conversation is not cause for concern as a friend who is a business partner may offer potential business or growth opportunities for your respective company.

Maintaining a Good Business Partnership

There are many attributes to an ideal business partnership, primary among them effective and professional communication. So long as your business partner is oriented towards creating and finding effective solutions for you or your collective companies’ problems, your partner is hard-working and fair, and your business partner is positive and shares your values, maintaining an open line of communication is an essential element to maintaining this positive relationship.

Unlike the usual phone etiquette, a phone call with a business partner allows some flexibility in content and conduct so that you can maintain a positive environment for all parties involved.

Since positivity is the key to productivity, you shouldn’t let your normal work expectations hinder you from maintaining a cordial relationship with your business partners, especially if they’re your friends.

So long as you find the right balance between personal and professional conversation, you can enjoy the benefits of chatting with your business partners whenever you’re at work and striving to succeed.

Katie Haynes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: you reformatted your resume, secured your references, and composed a genuine and constructive cover letter. You managed to make it past the first.

You’ve polished your resume, researched a variety of companies, and submitted some applications in hopes of receiving a quality position. You wait and then. you get the bad news: rejection.

Sources:

https://apolloansweringservice.com/the-right-way-to-answer-the-phone-for-your-small-business/
https://justdigitalinc.com/how-to-answer-the-phone/
https://everyday-courtesy.com/how-do-you-answer-phone-calls-from-friends-from-business-partners/

How to Build Your Business Brand in 5 Steps

What is a Brand Identity?

Brand identity is not one specific aspect of a business. It’s comprised of multiple factors, such as company values, communication style, product offerings, logos, color palettes, and more. All of these elements help portray your brand to the outside world. But the world’s perception of those factors ultimately becomes your brand identity.

The McDonald’s identity starts with the golden arches. But it’s much more than that. What do you think of when you see that logo or hear the name? Some of you might think of Ronald McDonald. Others imagine the tastes and smell of a Big Mac and fries.

Regardless of what you think of, specifically, McDonald’s has established a global brand. Everyone knows exactly what to expect from this company; they are the epitome of a fast food chain.

Why Put Effort Into Building a Brand?

Branding builds credibility and establishes trust between businesses and consumers. It’s what entices people to buy from you in the first place, and keeps them coming back for more in the future.

Whether you’re in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, or Rome, you know exactly what you’re getting when you walk into a Starbucks. You could get a bigger cup of coffee for a fraction of the cost at a gas station or small local doughnut shop, but those places don’t have the same branding power as Starbucks.

What makes that shirt worth more than a $5 shirt? Why is an iPhone worth so much better than a $100 smartphone? Are Nikes really worth five times more than a generic pair of sneakers?

Why is it important to have a cohesive brand?

Since your brand identity flows through all aspects of your business, it’s important that it possesses a cohesiveness that conveys a unified message to consumers. Doing so generates the following benefits to your business.

Strong brand identity

Imagine meeting a fun, happy-go-lucky guy at a party. A few days later, you meet him again, but this time, he’s dour and unfriendly. It’s unsettling. You don’t know which is the guy’s real identity.

Customers have the same experience with an inconsistent brand. A cohesive brand creates consistency, reinforcing the image established the first time a consumer encounters your brand.

Apple, for example, exudes imagination, design and innovation in its brand. This is exemplified in its “Think different” tagline. Apple consistently presented this brand image over decades, building such a strong identity that Forbes declared Apple last year’s most valuable brand.

Improved trust

Customers have to trust you before they’ll do business with you. A cohesive brand builds that trust. If your brand isn’t presented consistently, consumers become confused or even suspicious about what your company and offerings represent.

Look at a brand like Disney. Since its focus is children, the brand must put trust above all else. From characters like Mickey Mouse to its theme parks, Disney is very protective to ensure its brand is consistently portrayed, and its integrity preserved. It’s so determined to maintain consistency and trust that Disney launched a completely different brand, Touchstone Pictures, for films targeted to adults.

Better recall

When customers experience your brand repeatedly in the same way, your brand sticks in their minds. When it’s time for them to make a purchase decision related to your industry or offerings, they remember your brand, increasing the likelihood of a sale.

Take Coca-Cola as an example. Its brand identity is so connected to its namesake soft drink that consumers at a restaurant will ask for a Coke even if options are limited to competitor drinks. That’s because Coca-Cola is often the first brand that comes to mind when thinking about soft drinks. Such is the power of brand recall, and it only happens when a brand is consistently presented on an ongoing basis.

3 ways to build your brand in Singapore

We live in a world of change. In a city like Singapore, there is no exception. Sacrifices would have to be made and we must change in order for us to progress and take the next leap either in our professional or personal lives.

We are one way or another marketing ourselves as a brand name and creating awareness. We market ourselves during interviews; we engage ourselves in small talks and networking sessions. We are branding ourselves in one way or another.

Singapore is a hub for budding entrepreneurs and most of us have what it takes to become an entrepreneur; but what are the assets of becoming an entrepreneur and a successful one at it. That is the burning question that we are faced with each time we think of taking that leap of faith

It is more important for us to employ an integrated and focused brand strategy in order to be successful. And this is no different for businesses, big or small – in fact, it might just be more important for any small businesses or entrepreneurship.

In a world of business or organization, we rarely have the time, the financial support, or recognition in the marketplace to simply challenge us to greater heights. In a world where manycompanies and products are vying for consumers’ attentions, it is vital to make sure you are positioning your product or service to attract their attention.

When creating a product, or thinking about how to market a service, it’s not enough to just “dive” into the marketplace. It’s estimated that the average consumer is bombarded by over 6,000 marketing messages every day.

It’s no wonder then why consumers tend to develop habits that they stick with – especially when it comes to investing in products or utilizing services. It’s our job to shift these habits and loyalties over to our organization, and you do that first through differentiation.

You have to be different. In your particular industry (unless you’ve created the next light bulb) there are probably several competitors within a whisker of your location. More when you consider social media means, newspapers, magazines, etc.

Here are some quick questions to ask:
A) Identify your main competitors in your industry – what makes your products or services different from theirs?
B) Why would consumers or others want to use your products or services over your competitors?
C) Make a list of how your products or services are similar to your competitors. Now make a list of how they are different. How can you exploit the differences to draw attention to your brand and away from your competitors?

Is your product or service relevant to the industry’s needs and requirements? As important as it is, you can’t just be different. It’s not enough to offer your potential customers more choices – you have to offer them a clear and better choice.

Your brand must be relevant in today’s needs and technological advancement. Your brand has to matter to the consumer – otherwise, you may have the most unique product on the market, but nobody will buy it because you have not been able to convince them on the need to invest in your product or service.

Take Bubble Tea for example. Bubble Tea came up with a bang and had a great creative idea to it. It was a craze a few years ago and many of them were hooked to it. I would say it was a fad at that time and you could see teenagers especially enjoying that sip of tea with gelatin bubbles to chew on.

Even the elderly had a sip of it when I was making my way to bubble tea shops. Someone came up with the idea and the product in the early 2000s and it made a big splash initially.

How could something taste like Bubble Tea and be very clear about its uniqueness? It was clearly a unique product. However, the craze for Bubble Tea had one missing ingredient. It missed out on one important part of the puzzle, and as a result, the brand flopped a short time later.

They didn’t make the product relevant. People didn’t care. They figured, if it tastes like Bubble Tea, why not just drink it for the sake of it and have fun? Or maybe they liked other copy cats that taste similar to Bubble Tea.

The bottom line is that Bubble Tea created a unique product that people just didn’t care about. And it wasn’t successful. In the same say, you have to position your brand in such a way so that people will care about it enough to shift their purchasing habits.

Some questions to ask:
A) Why should consumers buy your product or use your service?
B) What will make the average consumer shift their habits and loyalties from your competitors’ brands to your brand?
C) Why can’t the average consumer live WITHOUT your brand?

In your small business or organization, you must think long term. You must employ strategies and initiatives that not only keep your brand in the forefront of your customers’ minds from a unique and relevant perspective – they must see your brand as one that is not affected by change, but rather as one that AFFECTS change.

Sources:

https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/how-to-build-a-brand/
https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/small-business/cms/articles/how-to-build-a-brand/
https://sbr.com.sg/media-marketing/commentary/3-ways-build-your-brand-in-singapore

A Way Forward for Small Businesses

How can you tell if the economy is in good or bad shape?

  • GDP – Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a measure of all the good and services produced in the UK over a set period of time. An increase in GDP means the economy is growing.
  • Inflation – This is the rate at which the prices of goods and services increase. The government think that 2% is the ideal rate of inflation. Low inflation suggests that the demand for goods and services is lower than expected. This can tends to slow economic growth and depress wages. High inflation means we all get less for our money, which can stop people spending and slow down the economy.
  • Unemployment – Usually shown as a percentage, this is the amount of people who want to work but can’t find a job. Lower unemployment figures point to a stronger economy.
  • Inequality – This is a measure of how the UK’s wealth and prosperity is distributed. High inequality is usually a sign of an ‘unhealthy’ economy. The bad news is that figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggest that the levels of income inequality in the UK are among the highest in the European Union.

But no matter how your business is performing, it’s fair to say that the last decade has presented businesses with more than their fair share of challenges, from the banks going bust to question marks over Brexit.

Small business owners have had to cope with an increase in consumer price inflation (CPI) and a dampening in household real income growth, which has led to cuts in consumer spending.

And then there have been the challenges posed by the pandemic and the current energy and cost of living crises. Inflation has recently hit at a 30-year high, but wages have been stagnating for more than a decade, which means spending power is low and the economy is suffering.

And then there’s the fact that the UK economy has been underperforming compared to those of its European neighbours. The government’s austerity programme clearly hasn’t worked, and it seems to finally be recognising that the key to growing the economy is to support small business growth and stimulate consumer spending.

How do small businesses affect the economy?

Small business turnover helps shape the UK economy

Turnover is typically one of the first metrics that springs to mind when measuring the economic contribution of a small business – it’s far from being the only metric, but it’s very important.

Small and medium-sized businesses in the UK had a combined turnover of £2.3 trillion in 2021. Those businesses with fewer than 10 employees – classed as microbusinesses – contributed the most, at £953 billion. While this is a significant figure in itself, it’s even more impressive when you consider that it amounts to a whopping 52% of the private sector’s overall turnover.

SMEs make up around 99% of all the businesses currently operating in the UK, employing millions of people, which means their collective successes and failures have an enormous impact on the UK economy. So it’s no surprise that SMEs are generally seen as the key engine of growth and sustainability.

Small business employment figures impact the UK economy

Although the majority of small businesses are not employers – the UK has 3.2 million sole traders, which make up 56% of private sector businesses in the UK – SMEs still make a huge contribution to job creation in the UK.

Small business growth affects the UK economy

The business population increased by 61% from 2000 to 2021, when 2.1 million new businesses came into being. But this trend was halted by the pandemic, which helped to cause at 6.5% drop in the number of businesses operating in the UK between 2020 and 2021.

Even so, estimated employment rates in the UK currently stand at 75.5%. Although this figure is 1.1 percentage points lower than before the coronavirus pandemic (December 2019 to February 2020), it is 0.2 percentage points higher than the previous three-month period (June to August 2021). So things appear to be moving in the right direction.

When it comes to business growth, our figures show that SMEs have been performing well – employment rates are at a record high, with 50% of SMEs saying they’ll expand their operations this year. The outlook is positive, even with the uncertainty of Brexit still looming large.

Graph showing the confidence of small business owners in Britain

Small businesses account for a huge 99.5% of the businesses in every main sector. The highest volume of small businesses is in personal services, such as beauty and wellness, as well as professional services like financial services or consulting.

The small and medium-sized firms of the UK have a mutually beneficial relationship with the country’s overall economy – SME contributions are vital to economic health, and the state of the UK’s economy impacts small business growth.

Our Findings on the Current Small Business Landscape

1. Large numbers of small businesses have shut down and laid off huge numbers of workers.
In our sample, 45% of small businesses were temporarily closed due to Covid-19. Total employment by these businesses declined by 40% since the end of January. The economic carnage was particularly acute at the epicenter of the American pandemic: the mid-Atlantic region that surrounds New York City. In that area, more than 55% of small businesses had closed and employment had fallen by 44%. The Pacific region, with statewide closures in California and an early outbreak in Washington, has seen equally dramatic employment reductions.

The magnitude of the shock to demand for small businesses is hard to overstate. When we launched the survey on March 26, roughly 49% of the U.S. population was living under some sort of shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order. One week later, roughly 87% of the U.S. population was living under a stay at home order. This highlights both the severity of the situation, and the pace at which things are evolving.

The vast majority of small businesses had less than two months of cash on hand to deal with shocks. The median business with monthly expenses over $10,000 generally didn’t even have enough cash to cover two weeks of their spending. These results suggest that without a credit lifeline or cash infusion, businesses will have to either cut their spending drastically or fold.

For banks and policymakers, this highlights the importance of not just getting money to businesses, but also in streamlining operations to the extent possible and getting money to businesses quickly. Delays in deploying aid will likely have a significant negative effect on business resilience.

Roughly 60% of respondents expect to be able to reopen by the end of 2020. However, nearly 30% view it only as somewhat likely that they will be able to reopen, and almost 10% find it unlikely or extremely unlikely that they will be back in business by year end. Businesses with more cash on hand were more bullish on making it through the year.

Perhaps the biggest unknowns for businesses (not to mention the rest of us) is precisely how long the ongoing disruptions will last. More than a third of businesses in our survey thought that disruptions would be over by June. But another third thought that the disruptions would last beyond August.

This highlights the value of transparency and clear guidance from policymakers about what to expect in terms of disruptions for the months ahead. The government can’t promise that the Covid-19 pandemic will be over by any certain date, but it can be realistic about timelines and also commit to a course of economic medicine that will enable the economy to reopen after then pandemic ends.

While many businesses are in dire need of a cash infusion, our survey also found that many businesses do not plan to seek assistance. Businesses were concerned about whether they would qualify. They were unsure about whether they would be able to repay the loans, or whether the government would end up forgiving the loans. They were worried about the complexity of the process and the hassle involved in getting a loan. And they feared that they wouldn’t get the money in time. Their concerns highlight the importance of the loan process and implementation.

Sources:

https://bionic.co.uk/business-finance/guides/the-role-of-small-businesses-in-the-uk-economy/
https://hbr.org/2020/04/a-way-forward-for-small-businesses
https://cumberlandbusiness.com/news/how-small-businesses-impact-their-communities/

7 Ways to Be a Better Listener

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7 Ways to Be a Better Listener

early ear trumpet on display

If you’ve wondered whether you could be a better listener, the answer is almost certainly “yes”—especially if your frustrated spouse or a close friend have out-and-out told you as much before. Even if you think you’re pretty good at lending an ear or a shoulder to cry on, making sure the people in your life feel truly heard is something that everyone can improve upon. Whether you’re communicating in person, on Zoom, over text, or on the phone, staying receptive is a crucial part of any healthy relationship.

Marriage counselor Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby says that listening and understanding each other is necessary to stay in sync. In a marriage or in a platonic relationship, “problem-solving and meeting a partner’s needs requires having had the opportunity to absorb what your partner’s telling you they need, or hope for, from you.” Though that’s often easier said than done.

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Being a “bad listener,” or repeatedly misunderstanding what the other person is saying, or appearing disinterested when you don’t mean to, can chip away at that person’s trust in your bond. Listening and responding with respect makes all the difference. Here are 7 ways to be a good a listener at work, to your spouse, to a friend, and anyone else who’s important to you.

Becoming a Better Listener

A participant in any conversation has two goals: first, to understand what the other person is communicating (both the overt meaning and the emotion behind it) and second, to convey interest, engagement, and caring to the other person. This second goal is not “merely” for the sake of kindness, which would be reason enough. If people do not feel listened to, they will cease to share information.

Getting good at active listening is a lifetime endeavor. However, even minor improvements can make a big difference in your listening effectiveness. Here’s a “cheat sheet” with nine helpful tips:

1. Repeat people’s last few words back to them.

If you remember nothing else, remember this simple practice that does so much. It makes the other person feel listened to, keeps you on track during the conversation, and provides a pause for both of you to gather thoughts or recover from an emotional reaction.

2. Don’t “put it in your own words” unless you need to.

Multiple studies have shown that direct repetition works, even though it may feel unnatural. Rephrasing what your interlocutor has said, however, can increase both emotional friction and the mental load on both parties. Use this tool only when you need to check your own comprehension — and say, explicitly, “I’m going to put this in my own words to make sure I understand.”

3. Offer nonverbal cues that you’re listening — but only if it comes naturally to you.

Eye contact, attentive posture, nodding and other nonverbal cues are important, but it’s hard to pay attention to someone’s words when you’re busy reminding yourself to make regular eye contact. If these sorts of behaviors would require a significant habit change, you can instead, let people know at the beginning of a conversation that you’re on the non-reactive side, and ask for their patience and understanding.

4. Pay attention to nonverbal cues.

Remember that active listening means paying attention to both the explicit and implicit information that you’re receiving in a conversation. Nonverbal cues, such as tone of voice, facial expression, and body language, are usually where the motivation and emotion behind the words is expressed.

5. Ask more questions than you think you need to.

This both improves the other person’s experience of feeling listened to, ensures that you fully understand their message, and can serve as a prompt to make sure important details aren’t overlooked.

6. Minimize distractions as much as possible.

You’ll want to avoid noise, interruptions, and other external distractions, but it’s important to minimize your internal distractions as well. If you are preoccupied with another topic, take time to re-center. If you know a conversation might be upsetting, calm yourself as much as possible before going in.

7. Acknowledge shortcomings.

If you know going into a conversation that you may be a subpar listener — because you’re exhausted from a dozen intense conversations earlier that day, unfamiliar with the topic under discussion, or any other reason — let the other person know right away. If you lose your footing during the conversation — a lapse of attention or comprehension — say you didn’t quite get it, and ask the person to repeat themselves.

8. Don’t rehearse your response while the other person is talking.

Take a brief pause after they finish speaking to compose your thoughts. This will require conscious effort! People think about four times faster than other people talk, so you’ve got spare brainpower when you’re a listener. Use it to stay focused and take in as much information as possible.

9. Monitor your emotions.

If you have an emotional reaction, slow the pace of the conversation. Do more repetition, pay attention to your breathing. You don’t want to respond in a way that will cause the other person to disengage. Nor — and this is a subtler thing to avoid — do you want to fall into the easy defense mechanism of simply tuning out what you don’t want to hear, or rushing to discount or argue it away.

Why Listen?

To increase my own ability to listen, I started to observe and talk to good listeners. I discovered they are motivated to listen because they’ve learned that listening affects human behavior powerfully, and therefore they have patiently trained themselves to listen.

In a small notebook I began to record my own findings on the key role listening plays. First, I learned that listening affirms people. Indeed, it is one of the highest forms of affirmation. When we listen, we invite another person to exist. A boss who pauses at his secretary’s desk to ask her opinion, a mother who switches off the vacuum to listen to her child, a customer who stops to say “How are you?” to a sales clerk — each of these is acknowledging someone’s personhood.

Jesus did this often. In Mark 10, he was surrounded by a huge crowd as he left Jericho. Yet when he heard a blind beggar calling out to him, Scripture says, “Jesus stopped.” He called Bartimus to himself and listened to him. I learned secondly that we strengthen each other through good listening. Reading the gospels, one senses that even Jesus sought the encouragement that comes from sharing inner feelings with those who would listen.

In Prescriptions for a Tired Housewife, James Dobson observes, “For some strange reason, human beings . . . tolerate stress and pressure much more easily if at least one other person knows they are enduring it.” If we learn to ask perceptive questions and then wait for answers, we can be that “one other person” someone needs to share the burdens of his life.

Third, listening helps the speaker clarify his or her thoughts. Dawson Trotman often said, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass over the lips or through the fingertips” — that is, by talking and by writing. As we give people an opportunity to talk, we help them sort out tangled thoughts. “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters,” Proverbs 20:5 reads, “but a man of understanding draws them out.”

Jesus drew people out. For example, he was not in a rush when he initiated dialogue with the woman at the well (John 4), knowing it would take time for her to shed surface layers of theological questions.

The same kind of unrushed talk-time helps me when I’m trying to sort out an issue I am struggling with. At my job, my supervisor has created an atmosphere in which I am free to talk with him at any time. Last week when I sensed pressure, we talked. In the process I found myself identifying the source of the pressure. Expressing feelings encouraged me to be honest with myself, something not always easy for me. His willingness to listen helped me to take an accurate reading of where I am and to commit myself to some corrections.

A good listener gives us the opportunity to express our views without being judged, interrupted, or redirected. We feel safe and unhurried, so we are more likely to express what is really going on within us.

The fourth point I discovered is that good listening improves the accuracy of our responses to what other people say. In Proverbs 25:11–12 (NASB) we read, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.” Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.

While I was in the earlier stages of “burnout,” and quietly fighting depression, I attended a retreat with other missionaries. A friend and I were making beds one morning, and I asked her, “How do you handle depression?”

I’ve learned since that many people are often in the same situation I was in that day: Behind their question is a statement, and behind the statement, hidden from view, is a feeling. When I asked my friend, “How do you handle depression?” I was trying to say, “I’m depressed.” And crouched behind that admission was a feeling even harder to express: “I’m afraid.” I needed to express all this, but couldn’t.

How does good listening help in such a situation? First, good listening encourages the speaker to continue talking. The first problem mentioned is rarely the real one. Only as the speaker continues does the conversation head toward root issues.

Listening long enough will help us hear the real statement or question and to uncover the feeling behind it. Unfortunately, many of us are too preoccupied with ourselves when we listen. Instead of concentrating on what is being said, we are busy either deciding what to say in response or mentally rejecting the other person’s point of view.

In Proverbs 18:13 we read, “He who answers before listening — that is his folly and his shame.” I cringe when I recall the times I’ve poured out advice only to discover I was answering a question that hadn’t been asked. Such mistakes are costly because they leave the questioner feeling misunderstood and apprehensive.

Also, good listening often defuses the emotions that are a part of the problem being discussed. Sometimes releasing these emotions is all that is needed to solve the problem. The speaker may neither want nor expect us to say anything in response.

How to Improve

One of the best ways to learn to listen is to study the life of Jesus. Read through the gospels and watch this masterful teacher affirm people, draw them out, and accurately speak to their real needs. Jesus motivates us to listen better.

Second, I’ve stopped thinking of listening as only a passive activity. “Listening,” says former Senator S.I. Hayakawa of California, “requires entering actively and imaginatively into another person’s situation and trying to understand a frame of reference different from your own.” To do this means fighting distractions, and forcing myself to ask, “What is this person saying to me? What does he or she mean?” I don’t want to be like the fool in Proverbs 18:2, who “takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (RSV).

Third, I consciously withdraw so as to create space for another to open up and talk. In The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen quotes James Hillman, director of studies at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland: “For the other person to open and talk requires a withdrawal of the counselor. I must withdraw to make room for the other. This withdrawal, rather than going-out-to-meet the other, is an intense act of concentration.”

After listening I used to make comments such as, “I know just how you feel.” Then I would recount something similar that had happened to me. Sometimes my stories helped, but many times they were just a distraction. I’m learning to put myself aside when I listen.

Fourth, I put more emphasis on affirmation than on answers. When I listened in the past I had a compulsion to rush in and “fix things,” as if the other person were asking me to “do something.” I’m learning that, although there are times where I need to give an answer or help direct someone, many times God simply wants to use me as a channel of his affirming love as I listen with compassion and understanding. As the other person finds security in this acceptance, he begins to believe God loves him. In this atmosphere of affirmation, God is able to work with this person, and the results are much better than anything my feeble tinkering could do.

In order to improve, I’ve asked those I work with to help me by pointing out times when I fail to listen. I also use the time driving home from work to review the day. I think back through my encounters with others at the office, over the phone, at lunch. I make mental notes of situations I bungled, times when I failed to listen. I relive conversations and mentally phrase the questions I wish I had asked, the responses I wish I had given. This mental practice prepares me for the next time.

It takes time and practice to learn to listen. And it takes a caring heart. A fourth-grade teacher once asked her class, “What is listening?” After a few moments of silence, one little girl raised her hand. “Listening,” she said, “is wanting to hear.”

Resource:

https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/relationships-love/a33014448/how-to-be-a-good-listener/
https://hbr.org/2021/12/how-to-become-a-better-listener
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-to-become-a-good-listener

7 Steps to Manifest Something By Writing It Down

how to write a manifestation journal | how to manifest love by writing it down | how to manifest on paper overnight

7 Steps to Manifest Something By Writing It Down

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Personal and professional growth can happen faster just from knowing how to manifest something by writing it down. Does this surprise you? If so, keep reading to learn more about this powerful tool.

Writing is thought made permanent. You also see your thoughts on paper. I read that in a book as a teenager and those statements have been etched in my memory ever since. I’ve used those notions to my advantage to accomplish many life goals, including becoming a writer and paralegal.

In addition to making them visible, penning your thoughts on paper is almost like engraving them on your brain. A 2021 study found there’s a greater chance the information will stick in your memory longer. More importantly, you’re able to visualize your thoughts, emotions, plans, and goals and take action to achieve the desired outcome.

How To Manifest Something By Writing It Down

Worry not, it’s nothing complicated. You will not have to do voodoo magic to manifest the life you desire. All you need to do is define your goal(s) and follow these simple steps to make it a reality:

1. Choose your manifestation journal and template

woman writing in her notebook

Once you have your manifestation journal, start thinking about templates. By this, I mean that you can choose to write stories about your future life, turn your journal into a gratitude journal, or create a simple manifestation list of your goals.

From personal experience, I think it’s best to combine all of these templates. That way, you’ll make sure to make it a fun experience, and you’ll increase your chances of manifesting.

2. Sum up your thoughts

Keep in mind that if you don’t know what exactly you want, the Universe will be confused. That is why you need to be clear and concise when it comes to your desires.

3. Expand your desire

young girl sitting and writing in notebook

Tap into your subconscious mind to get a clear picture of your inner desires. Now is the time to write things down in great detail. Define what exactly you want, how much of it you want, etc.

Now that I finally met someone who will love me unconditionally, I feel so happy and fulfilled. Thank you, Universe. Our relationship is filled with respect, trust, and undying love. I feel appreciated and loved. I’m so grateful for all their declarations of love and effort…

The main point here is to write as if the thing you desired already happened to you, and as you’re writing it, you’re actually experiencing it. Why should you do that?

4. Back up your desire

woman writing in notebook

You will create a positive environment that will attract more positivity into your life by thinking about your intentions. However, if your desires are negative, you won’t succeed in tapping into high vibrational energy.

5. Convert negative thoughts into positive ones

woman writing in diary after shower

By this, I mean converting any negative thoughts into positive ones. You’ll do it by first writing down negative things that come to mind and then turning them into positive statements. Consider this also as a form of self-care.

6. Use the power of positive affirmations

woman sitting by beach and writing in notebook

Sometimes, the only reason we have difficulty attracting something in our lives is that we think we don’t deserve it. If we think that, how will we be able to manifest it, right?

Writing down these affirmations will evoke positive feelings and put you into higher vibrational energy. Yup, this is one of my favorite manifestation methods, and it definitely works.

When I don’t have time to write them, I stand in front of a mirror and repeat these affirmations. I immediately start feeling the flow of positivity through my body, so that’s how I know that they totally work.

7. Repetition is the key

The secret to manifesting and living your dream life is in repetition. Funny, I know. This means that writing down your desires once is often not enough to attract something.

You need to do it repetitively for some time, and then you can take a pause. What’s also important is the feeling after you’re finished writing your desires that day.

8. Act in alignment with your desired life

tourist woman writing in notebook

Acting in alignment means living your life as if you already have all the things you desire. For example, if you wish to have a happy love life, you need to tap into those emotions.

As you’re writing them, focus on imagining how you would feel if certain things happened to you. Pretend that you’re in a movie and have the power to create different scenarios.

9. Detach from the desired outcome

Detaching means surrendering yourself to the Universe. You see, sometimes we don’t get what we desire, and that is not because our manifestation failed. It’s because the Universe or God has something better in store for us.

Source:

https://www.developgoodhabits.com/manifest-something/
https://herway.net/how-to-manifest-something-by-writing-it-down/
https://icytales.com/tips-on-how-to-manifest-something-by-writing-it-down/
7 Steps to Manifest Something By Writing It Down

5 Killer Tips for Managing a Successful Side Hustle While Working

7 Steps to Manifest Something By Writing It Down

There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you buy. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please do your own research before making any online purchase.

Personal and professional growth can happen faster just from knowing how to manifest something by writing it down. Does this surprise you? If so, keep reading to learn more about this powerful tool.

Writing is thought made permanent. You also see your thoughts on paper. I read that in a book as a teenager and those statements have been etched in my memory ever since. I’ve used those notions to my advantage to accomplish many life goals, including becoming a writer and paralegal.

In addition to making them visible, penning your thoughts on paper is almost like engraving them on your brain. A 2021 study found there’s a greater chance the information will stick in your memory longer. More importantly, you’re able to visualize your thoughts, emotions, plans, and goals and take action to achieve the desired outcome.

How Do Writing Things down Help them Manifest?

Dozens of thoughts race through our minds each day. We forget most of them unless they have some significance. Even important thoughts and plans can slip our minds, regardless of whether or not we verbalize them. Writing changes words into a living force that’s capable of becoming something real.

Did you scribble your dream of becoming an artist as a child then forgot about it? Today you’re an artist. As you reflect on it, you can see how writing it down could’ve inspired your career. That’s the connection!

Not only does jotting things down serve as visible reminders, doing so also provides clarity of thought, and enables you to reflect, focus, and take action. Having the confidence and inner drive to vigorously pursue what you want means your dreams can manifest faster.

The Unexplained Connection Between Spirituality and Manifestation

Connection Between Spirituality and Manifestation

So, whenever we manifest something with pure faith, we signal our inner soul (God) that we require that thing. Further, our inner soul takes the role of the creator and fulfills our requirements.

Once you level up spiritually, your power of manifestation multiplies because spirituality helps you gain better self-control. Further, improved self-control helps you have better control over your thoughts and navigate them in a positive direction.
Finally, as soon as it becomes easy to have positive thoughts in your mind, it becomes easier to practice manifestation.

How to Manifest Something By Writing it Down in 9 Steps (Turn Your Desires into Reality!)

1. Be Accepting.

The first step is to open yourself to the universe so that you can receive what the universe has to offer. You have to create a mindset that is open to opportunities and ready to accept things.

Don’t expect your desires to get accomplished 100% according to your plan. You might receive your manifestations in a different form!
For example, Imagine you manifested a job that would pay you well. So, you might get a job that pays exceptionally well but is non-permanent (contract-based).

2. Pick a Fresh Journal and Your Favorite Pen.

Pick a Journal and Start Manifesting

A “new journal” or a “journal with dedicated sections for manifestation” would make it much handier to access your manifestations. You need to keep those manifestations handy as they are your topmost priority!

3. Dive Deep into Your Desires.

Ask yourself questions like- “What do you want?” and “Why do you want it?”
The answers to these questions will help you prioritize your needs and eliminate the desires that are actually useless.

4. Clarify Intention & Get Rid of Any Uncertainty.

Also, for effective manifestation, you need to have complete faith that whatever you want will definitely come true. Don’t be double-minded or uncertain whether your aspirations will come true or not because this way, you’ll send confusing energies and signals to the universe.

5. Imagine a World Where Your Desires Existed.

Just close your eyes and visualize how your life would be if your desires turned into reality. Think of what you’ll feel and how your life will change for good.
Allow your imagination to go wild and thoughts to flow freely.

6. List Down Affirmations.

They play a vital role in manifestation because they make you feel that you’re getting one step closer to your desires each day. Further, they also help you maintain a strong belief in your aspirations.

Coming onto how to use affirmations, you can choose to write them down, recite them in your head, or speak them out aloud (whatever works the best for you). Just make sure that you use them daily.

7. Use Your Resources Wisely.

It’s time to take some positive actions towards your manifestations. Don’t think that a miracle will happen without doing anything, and your aspirations will automatically come true.

You must also note: Don’t get so obsessed with your manifestation journal that you waste your time looking at it for the whole day. It will only lead to fear and stress related to accomplishing your desires.
Instead, once you’ve completed writing your manifestation journal, put it into a drawer, fly away, and don’t open it until the next day.

8. Check Your Journal Daily.

Daily writing of your manifestations will help you align your energies, tasks, and set intentions for the day. It will help you keep the feeling of accomplishment alive and stay motivated throughout the day. It will also remind you and the universe about your desires.

Also, make sure to use affirmations that will provide you the boost needed to maintain the positivity of your thoughts by making you feel that you’re getting closer to your desires each day.

9. Review Yourself Weekly.

Review Yourself Weekly

A weekly review is necessary to check that your energies and thoughts were aligned perfectly with your desires during the whole week.
It will also help you track yourself on the manifestation journey and identify your “fulfilled” and “yet to get fulfilled” aspirations.

So now that you know how to manifest something by writing it down, how many times do you write something to manifest it?

Write it everyday if it’s all you can think about and don’t feel silly for doing it. True story, when I was studying for the bar exam to become a lawyer, I wrote “I will pass the bar exam.” On whatever piece of paper I could find. I wrote it all over sticky notes and put them everywhere around my apartment. I mean they were everywhere from my Keurig, to my TV, to the bathroom mirror.

I drove my roommate nuts. I even wrote it like 40 times on a poster board and taped it to my door. Needless to say, I passed the bar exam and my roommate changed her tune and asked for my stick notes and then took my poster board and taped it to her door when it was time for her to take the exam.

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Resource:

https://www.developgoodhabits.com/manifest-something/
https://uprisehigh.com/build-yourself/how-to-manifest-something-by-writing-it-down/
https://heycrystallace.com/how-to-manifest-something-by-writing-it-down