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Last week we talked about ways to identify your personal weakness. Now it’s time to start setting goals to improve yourself AND your business. Whether your weakness is marketing or time management, here are five ways to improve business in 2017.

1. Introduce Offers

How many offers did you extend your customers last year? Every good marketing strategy involves user interactment. Entice current customers with exclusive offers to return to your business. Email marketing is a great way to start targeting previous customers. To attract potential customers, offer a money-back guarantee or free consultation. People are more likely to try a new product or service if the financial risk is low.

2. Customer Surveys

Surveying customers can be a useful tool for reassessing products, employees, and procedures. Send a follow-up email with a survey and a return offer. Many companies even offer a discount code for completed surveys. Listen to what your customers have to say and implement their opinions into your products or service. Make sure you let them know that their opinion matters!

3. Offer Continued Education

With new technology, marketing techniques, and products, there is always room for continued education. Consider an education program for your employees. This can range from subscribing to a website, such as lynda.com to tuition reimbursement. The more an employee feels growth and movement within a company, the higher the chances of retention.

4. Set Goals

This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes the day-to-day of every day life gets in the way of planning for the future. Talk with your financial advisor, your employees, and customers to set goals for the future. Getting  employee buy-in is crucial to meeting your business goals.

5. Know Your Limits

You can’t do it all. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Some weaknesses can be worked on, while others, such as strategic planning or web development, are best left to the professionals. Make an investment in your business by building a network of professionals to fill in the gaps. You’ll be glad you did!

Any other tips on how to improve business in 2017? Let us know!

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Content Marketing: Organizing a Social Media Strategy
When you’ve created new content through an article or other original work, only half of your job as a content marketer is actually done. You may have planned and then executed the writing of a great ... Read Original Article

New Years BrightStarsNew Year’s Eve typically gets associated with staying up late and going to big, raucous parties—not exactly the ideal activities for seniors. That doesn’t mean that you and your elderly loved one can’t celebrate the holiday together. We’ve shared a few simple New Year’s activities below that are well suited to older adults. Try them out, and remember it’s smart to have your celebration at an alternative time, such as morning or afternoon, especially for seniors with dementia who may experience “sundowning” in the evening hours.


1. Share a Favorite Meal

Does your loved one have a favorite dish? Make a plan to enjoy it together. If you’re cooking at home, give him or her simple cooking tasks, such as sorting ingredients, rinsing vegetables, or stirring batter. If you’re eating out, treat it as a special occasion and invite parents to get dressed up or even have their hair done.

2. Reflect on Years Gone By

Pick a few important years from your parent’s life, such as the year he or she got married, or when children were born. Sit down together to look at photos of those days and talk about what they were like.

3. Have a Singalong

Listening to music and sharing singalongs are two great activities for seniors with dementia in particular. Start by making a playlist with your loved one of all his or her favorite songs. You can do this online via YouTube or a free music service, such as Spotify. You can also skip this step and simply play your parent’s favorite CD’s or musical movie. The real fun is in singing along together.

4. Make a Party Hat

A custom party hat is an easy New Year’s craft that seniors of all cognitive and physical abilities can make. Help your parent measure a piece of construction paper to his or her head, then ask them to decorate it. Markers, stickers, stamps, and glitter pens are all great supplies to have on hand—there’s no right or wrong way.

5. Set New Year’s Intentions

For many, New Year’s resolutions trigger thoughts of weight loss or career goals, two topics that aren’t very relevant for seniors. Instead, come up with positive intentions for the coming year, such as spending time together, enjoying lifelong passions like music and art, or simply taking time to appreciate the little things, like the sound of birds or changing seasons.

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Do you find yourself saying “I don’t have enough time for that”? Increase your productivity this year and find time for your business. You’ll be surprised by how many hours appear in your day!

find time for your business

The night before

Every night before bed, write down what needs to be done tomorrow. Start with most important items. Be sure to include items that you know you need to do in order for growing your business. Include items that you may have been procrastinating. Procrastination is often associated with fear. Maybe it’s a task that you don’t know much about—like taxes—and you are afraid of messing up or not doing them properly. This fear can hold you back from accomplishing necessary tasks for growing your business. Recognizing that fear is affecting productivity is the first step to tackling those procrastinated to-dos.

complete difficult tasks first

Difficult tasks should be tackled first. Many people check off the easier tasks first. This may work for some people, but if you are constantly running out of time to do the big tasks because you are spending your day doing the easier ones, what is the point? Often times difficult tasks are ones that are essential to your business.

If the larger tasks are daunting, break them down into smaller steps. Attach an estimated time frame to each task. This allows you to plan your day in a realistic manner. It also can provide insight into how much time is actually spent on the task. You may be surprised by how fast the project will get done! Be sure to check off your tasks. You’ll reiterate a sense of accomplishment with yourself.

personal, maintenance, growth

Identify tasks by placing them into three categories—personal, maintenance, and growth. Personal tasks are ones that you may not do on a daily basis but that need to get done, such as grocery shopping. Try to limit your personal tasks to one a day to avoid running errands all day.

Maintenance tasks are probably the reason you aren’t experiencing growth in your business. Maintenance tasks take up time. You spend energy and feel like you’re working hard and accomplishing goals. The reality is that maintenance tasks are just that—maintaining your current state. If you want growth in your business then 70% of your tasks should be focused on growth, not maintaining. Maintenance tasks can include continuously checking stats or perusing social media. These activities that are helpful but keep you where you are. If you aren’t seeing success, this is probably because you’re stuck in personal and maintenance. You fell like you did a full day’s work but actually didn’t get any closer to your goal.

The majority of your day should be completing growth tasks. These tasks get you one step closer to putting money in the bank. These tasks are creating content, driving traffic, and sales. We often put off these tasks because they seem hard, but the more you practice, the easier they will get.

Have any tips for how to find time for your business? Let us know!

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November was Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and much was talked about. BrightStar Care’s very own dementia care expert and Chief Clinical Quality Officer Sharon Roth Maguire, MS, RN, GNP-BC, and care expert Deborah Hustace, RN, MBA, Senior Director of Clinical Operations, hosted an engaging Facebook Live Chat on the topic of how to make the holidays safe and special for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

Throughout the discussion, viewers submitted their questions for Sharon and Deborah to answer. Topics included traveling with an elderly loved one, medication management, family traditions, gift giving, and more. If you missed this informative live chat, you can watch it here now.

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Holidays for Conejo Valley Seniors with Alzheimer’s

Conejo Valley Seniors with Alzheimer’s: How to Make the Holidays Enjoyable

November was Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and much was talked about. BrightStar Care’s very own dementia care expert and Chief Clinical Quality Officer Sharon Roth Maguire, MS, RN, GNP-BC, and care expert Deborah Hustace, RN, MBA, Senior Director of Clinical Operations, hosted an engaging Facebook Live Chat on the topic of how to make the holidays safe and special for Conejo Valley senior loved ones living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

Throughout the discussion, viewers submitted their questions for Sharon and Deborah to answer. Topics included traveling with a Conejo Valley elderly loved one, medication management, family traditions, gift giving, and more. If you missed this informative live chat, you can watch it here now.

BrightStar Home Care of Conejo Valley proudly provides support for the elderly and children, including 24 hour skilled nursing and support in senior independent and assisted living communities. Additionally we provide Medical Staffing and In-Home Physical Therapy for pediatric, adult and geriatric patients, Companion and Personal Care for Elders with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. We also provide Home Child Care, Sitter and Nanny services for Children and Support for New Mothers.  We Support Veterans and Accept most Long Term Care Insurance benefits, provide Hospice care, Live-in care, CNA, Caregiver, RN, LVN, RN Supervision, Compassionate Care, and Compatibility Guarantees. Other services include safe discharge and transportation from the hospital or rehab facility, Post Op care both short and long term, Pre Operation and preparation help and assistance, and client monitoring for out of town family members.  Our service area includes the Los Angeles and Ventura County cities of  Simi Valley, Moorpark, Oak Park, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, West Hills, Newbury Park, Calabasas, Agoura,  Topanga, Malibu, Granada Hills, Hidden Hills, Northridge, Porter Ranch, and Chatsworth in California.

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Learning how to identify weakness is key to growth in your personal and business life.

how to identify weakness

Broaden Your Perspective

You may already have a good idea of what your weaknesses may be. Seeing yourself from another point of view can provide further insight into weaknesses that may be holding you back. Ask a trusted friend, family member, and/or coworker what your strengths and weaknesses are. By asking for your strengths, people are more likely to give you an accurate description of your weaknesses. Gaining an accurate perspective from your peers is the best way to identify weaknesses. Remember to celebrate your strengths as well! This exercise isn’t to make you feel bad about yourself. It is about a genuine desire to do better in your personal and work life.

Identify Complementary Skills

No one is perfect. Be realistic when identifying your weaknesses. Is it something that can be fixed, or is it worth your time to find someone to fill in the gaps? For example, say you are bad with money, especially when it comes to your business. You can take classes and seminars, or even get a degree, to educate yourself and change your habits. In the mean time, is your business suffering for your weakness? Can you outsource the financial planning to a professional? Part of identifying weaknesses is identifying whether you can fix them alone. Many people rely on a network of trusted professionals to help support them, so they can focus on bettering their strengths. 

Continued Education

Education doesn’t stop after graduation. The only way to get better at something is education and practice. Habits take practice. Self-discipline takes practice. Seek education outlets; you don’t have to spend a fortune on sites like YouTube and Skillshare. Remember to be patient with yourself and stay focused. The only way to change is with desire and focus.

No Excuses

When you talk and reflect on your weaknesses, don’t make excuses for them. Acceptance is the first step to change. Be realistic with yourself on your rate of change, and the amount of effort needed to change. With enough persistence and determination, you can turn your weaknesses into strengths.

Have any tips on how to identify weakness? Let us know in the comments below.

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Picture the typical holiday table and you’ll likely envision an abundant spread of stuffing, turkey, latkes, and pies. Now imagine navigating all that and trying to stick to a low-sodium, low-fat, or low-sugar diet. That’s the challenge in front of seniors who must follow certain dietary restrictions because of a heart condition or diabetes. With a few easy substitutions and omissions here and there, you can help your dad or mom stick to his or her diet and feel like they are a part of the holiday meal. Keep reading for 20 tips for holiday meals that are low salt, low fat, and low sugar.

Holiday-Healthy-EatingTips to Help Your Parent Stick to a Low-Sodium Diet

  1. Flavor foods with garlic, flavored vinegars, and herbs, such as rosemary or thyme.
  2. Keep salt shakers off the table. This will prevent guests from automatically sprinkling it on.
  3. Check with your doctor before feeding your parent a salt substitute, such as potassium chloride. These can have negative effects on aging kidneys.
  4. If using canned beans or vegetables, choose salt-free varieties, or rinse generously.
  5. When buying a store-bought turkey, read the label carefully to be sure it hasn’t been injected with saltwater to create plumpness.
  6. Bake with unsalted butter.
  7. Think twice before setting out trays of salted nuts, olives, or processed deli meats. These contain a lot of salt, and it’s easy to lose track of servings.

Tips to Help Your Parent Stick to a Low-Fat Diet

  1. Serve your parent white meat from the turkey. It contains less fat than dark.
  2. Trim skin off poultry.
  3. Make gravy with low-salt broth, skim milk, and flour.
  4. Instead of mashed potatoes, give mom or dad a baked potato. These are full of magnesium and potassium, which can help lower blood pressure.
  5. Replace half the called-for fats and oils in baking recipes with unsweetened applesauce, canned pumpkin, or sweet potato puree.
  6. When a recipe calls for dairy, go for the low-fat varieties.

Tips to Help Your Parent Stick to a Low-Sugar Diet

  1. Watch portions of cranberry based recipes, which can contain a surprising amount of sugar.
  2. Cut back on sugar in recipes and supplement with cinnamon, vanilla, citrus, or nutmeg.
  3. Don’t just skip dessert—this may make mom or dad feel left out. Many specialty bakeries make sugar-free desserts, or you can .
  4. Satisfy a sweet tooth with sugar-free Jell-O, or unsweetened applesauce warmed and sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg.
  5. If serving post-meal coffee or tea, leave out the sugar and provide guests with a cinnamon stick or lemon wedge instead.
  6. Choose sauces and salad dressings with no added sugars.
  7. When baking, swap out half the required sugar for pureed bananas or pears.

If all else fails, limit/reduce portions of their absolutely favorite item so they can still enjoy it as they wish.

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Social Media Scheduling Hacks
Both you and your followers will be busy over the holidays. But while YOU may not have time to post, THEY will still be looking at their social media. Here are some tips on how to schedule ... Read Original Article

As you reflect on 2016, ask yourself, “going forward, what changes can I make to go the extra mile?” Our tips for going the extra mile for your business! 

tips for going the extra mile

Whether you just started your business this past year or are a seasoned entrepreneur, there is always more that can be done to set your business apart from your competitors. From strategy to employees to customers, here are six tips for going the extra mile to ramp up your business.

Get your financial ducks in a row

This may seem like a no-brainer. However, many small business owners find that their finances are more reactive than proactive. Make sure you meet with a financial advisor to plan out your fiscal year. By doing this proactively, you can have a better idea of where your business stands in the marketplace.

Become business-savvy

You went into business because you are good at what you do. Whether it’s plumbing, accounting, or retail, you are in business because you have a specific skill. However, not everyone has an innate knack for business. Sometimes the best plumbers, accountants, and retailers are the worst businessmen. To sharpen your skills, meet with a business advisor. Make sure that your advisor teaches you how to fish, not catches fish for you!

Sharpen a skill

There are several facets of your industry. Whether it’s shipping, finances, or graphic design, learning a new skill can help improve yourself AND your business. And you may even find a new hobby! Skillshare is a great start for learning how to tweak your website, organize your finances, or learning the latest technological advances.

Ramp up your customer service

In the restaurant business, it is often said that people come for the food, but they return for the customer service. With the massive increase in online retailers and services, customer service is what now sets companies apart if you can’t compete with the internet’s prices. Whether it’s hiring another account manager or up training your employees, always think of the customer’s experience and how you can make it even better. There are several sites that allow for customer surveys, so you can easily identify your companies weaknesses.

Social Media Strategy

Is your social media halfway there? Make it a point in 2017 to meet with a strategist to set you on the right track to increasing your followers. Make sure you deliver quality content, consistently post, and interact with your fan base. If you are unable to keep up with it on your own, hire a designer to manage your social media.

Take care of your health

Make sure to take care of yourself first! Studies show that active people live more positive, healthy, and balanced lives. Make sure you promote a healthy atmosphere for yourself, your family, and your employees. Allow for standing desks or exercise balls (yes, you’ll have to be THAT person). The reality is that over a third of all Americans will get a herniated disk at some po Read Original Article

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Synergy Business Connections helps businesses grow through relationship marketing and we follow the exclusive category format with one member per Conejo Chamber of Commerce business sub-category. Your business sub-category appears on your Conejo Chamber profile page, right under your business name, to see if your category is eligible. We welcome you to join us at a meeting as our guest to experience the Synergy network for yourself.

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What makes the Conejo Valley special, unique or interesting?

I like to call Thousand Oaks "the biggest little town in the country." Even though its size is well over 100,000 residents, it still has a small town feel. You are liable to see someone you know every time you go out. I also like the fact that it has protected itself from the blight that has ruined so many other communities in Southern California by restricting things such as billboards, building structure and height, paid parking lots, and corner strip malls. 

— Cary Ginell - VC On Stage