Going from Peer to Superior

November 21st, 2016 by

Congratulations — you’ve been promoted! On one hand, you’re probably excited to start the next phase of your career. On the other hand, you’ve just entered what can be one of the most difficult career situations you can go through: transitioning from peer to superior.

four-businesswomen-meeting-over-coffee_webHere are five tips to make the transition a little easier:

  1. Reevaluate your personal relationships with coworkers. You’ll need to accept that you can no longer be as close with the people you once called your peers. You are no longer a co-worker, you are now the person who assigns works and is in charge or productivity.

  2. Talk to the people in your department one-on-one. Have a conversation about the expectations you have of one another and how all of you can work together to make the transition easier.

  3. Remain professional at all times. You can no longer participate in break-room gossip or vent to the employees you once confided in. You need to establish boundaries and treat every employee with respect.

  4. If you did form friendships with employees, don’t allow them to affect your new duties. You can maintain those relationships outside of work, but you can’t give your friends special treatment.

  5. Remember that your new position isn’t about being popular. What’s more important is  being a leader and helping everyone in your department achieve results.

3 Ways to Invest in Your Career

November 17th, 2016 by

Most people, at the beginning of their careers, set goals for the future. This could be a series of promotions, working towards a specific company or even starting your own business. The reality is you probably can’t achieve those goals by simply showing up and working the daily 9-5 grind.  You’ll need to put in a little extra effort to make them a reality.

Here are 3 ways you can invest in your career to ensure future development:14387367072_85312c31b3_b

Take on more projects. There are many benefits to taking on extra work. First, it will impress your superiors. Taking on extra projects will demonstrate your commitment to the field and to the company. Second, it will give you more experience. More work means you are spending more time developing your skills and improving your professional potential. Additionally, consider freelance work, if possible, to gain both experience and new contacts.

Seek out development opportunities. This can come in many forms including  networking events, conferences relating to your field or internal training programs offered by your company. You can take courses that improve your professional development. Learn HTML to increase your marketable abilities or take online courses like the ones offered by Next Step Academy. Anything that can expand your knowledge and give you an edge in the field.

Request feedback. While initially asking for feedback can be uncomfortable, it can be one of the best ways to improve and invest in your professional development. Ask your boss how they think you are doing in your current position. Ask about your strengths and possible shortcomings. You may also want to inform them of your goals and ask what it would take for you to achieve them.

There are plenty of ways to develop your professional potential. Learn more with Next Step Academy’s course “Realizing Your Professional Potential“!


In the News: Microsoft Boasts Smartest Business Apps

October 21st, 2016 by

This week, Microsoft launched a new suite of business applications called Dynamics 365, which will officially become available November 1.

Dynamics 365 takes elements from pre-existing Microsoft products such as Dynamics CRM and several enterprise resource planning (ERP) software applications. The functions fulfilled by Dynamics 365 handle the front and back end of office processes, managing inventory, manufacturing processes and finances.

microsoft_logo_2012_modifiedThe key to Dynamics 365 is the built in AI features. Microsoft is adding “smarter” technologies that it’s been working on for years and Dynamics 365 runs on Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform. The “smarter” apps are able to better predict what a user wants to do based on previous actions and make recommendations, similar to the way Amazon suggests items to customers based on previous searches.

Each user is charged 70 dollars per month for all of the sales, customer service and field services applications included in Dynamics 365. Comparatively, Salesforce (one of Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 competitors) offers a low-end bundle starting at 70 dollars, with their most popular bundle costing users 150 dollars.

The new focus on business applications from Microsoft and strategically standard pricing means Microsoft will compete more rigorously with Salesforce and other companies offering business applications in the future. This is a great opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs to access vital business applications without having to break the bank.

Take Next Step Academy’s “Entrepreneurship” course to learn how to be successful in your business ventures.


The Four Ingredients of Entrepreneurship

August 18th, 2016 by

Have you ever wanted to open your business, but didn’t know where to begin? According to Arunas Chesonis, CEO of Sweetwater Energy in Rochester NY and expert entrepreneur, there are four ingredients for starting a successful business: experience, planning, funding and teamwork.

Experience. Before you start a new business, you need to understand how a business is run. Apply for internships or volunteer at an organization and put in quality effort. Take time to learn from those around you and understand the ins and outs of the industry. By working in the field of business ahead of time, you will make meaningful connections and gain valuable experience, setting yourself up for future success.

Looking to become leaders in their industryPlanning. When it comes to starting a new business, you cannot just wing it. You need to construct a detailed plan and answer these fundamental questions:

-Who is my target market/audience?
-What exactly do I want to do?
-When will I launch my new business?
-Where do I want my business to be after 1 year? 2 years? 5 years?
-How much will it cost?

You should also come up with a justification for the new business. What niche does it fulfill? Why should people use your product or service over someone else’s?

Funding. Once you figure out how much starting your business will cost, you need to figure out how it will be funded. Can you afford to fund the project yourself or do you need investors? If you don’t have enough people to invest in your idea, you can also investigate small business loans. There are plenty of funding opportunities available it’s just a matter of finding the best option for you.

Teamwork. Creating a team of smart and dedicated individuals will be necessary to help your business grow. Working with others can be a challenge, so make sure you pick your team carefully. Choose trustworthy people that are smart, dedicated and passionate about the business you are building together. Make sure you and your team brush up on their interpersonal communication skills and go into every meeting with an open mind. You want to establish a strong, upbeat and conflict-free environment from the get go.

Learn more about starting a business with Next Step Academy’s Entrepreneurship course!


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